I was so angry last night after coming home from the local Wasatch School Board meeting.  Here’s why. 

That arrogant board had the audacity to delete parental consent in privacy laws in schools, and they did it secretively, quickly and in code –so no one knew what was going on.  (Except a handful of watchdogs like me who were shaking our heads while it was happening.)

On the School Board’s Statement of Purpose, it says: “to work closely with the community in keeping the public informed of the program of the schools and the needs of the system. The actions of the board did not match its stated purpose.  I respectfully asked in an email today that the Board overturn its hasty and secretive passing of the revision of FERPA law that deletes parental consent over their own children. Why? 

Evidence of Wasatch School Board Deliberately Hiding Facts:

 1. The “parental consent deletion” revision of FERPA protection that was voted on that night was never even spoken verbally, but was only referred to in a code that only Board members would understand, such as “we added 8 and 9 to FERPA.” 


No attempt was made to clarify even so much as the acronymn FERPA, which is The Family   Educational Rights and Privacy Act which has, until last night’s deletion, protected the privacy of student education records.


2. The FERPA revision document was not displayed on the large screen, yet other topics of the evening were displayed on the large screen, including landscaping plans, the merchandise available at the WHS school store, and more.  The document was not photocopied as the agenda had been photocopied for attendees.  One citizen only got a copy of the document after the meeting was over because the citizen knew it was illegal for the Board to refuse to provide the document.


3.  While between ten and twenty minutes were devoted to such topics as Cowboy Poetry, football feeder team startups, landscaping and USOE financial disasters, zero time was allowed for speaking about the FERPA parental consent deletions.


Because the Board deliberately minimized or hid these facts from the public, I made a motion via email that this FERPA “parental consent deletion” revision be overturned immediately so that the public may have time to consider the facts fairly.

Transparency, representation, and the School Board’s own statement of purpose demand that some sort of survey should be provided to parents with the revision document clearly provided, asking this simple question:

Would you, as a parent, prefer to have parental consent and privacy laws remain intact, as they were prior to Thursday’s Board meeting’s removal of those parental rights over student information?  Circle Yes or No.

 So, you might be wondering, why does the Common Core Initiative so desperately want to collect data without parental consent?  Why collect so much data at all? 

  •  We’ve never had federally centralized and federally supervised data collection from schoolkids before the Common Core Initiative.
  •  This is not aggregated academic data, but personal, individualized, academic and nonacademic information about every child –taken to D.C.

In the feds’ ironically titled guide, “Safeguarding Student Privacy” we find out why the educational leaders want to test our kids repeatedly and obsessively and why they want to change FERPA privacy laws to do it.  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/safeguarding-student-privacy.pdf

“High quality data and robust data systems will help us measure our progress towards President Obama’s        goal for us to be first in the world in college      completion by the year 2020 and better meet the needs of parents,      teachers, and students. [ How exactly does it “better meet my needs” to allow feds to obsessively test my child and give all the personal and academic data they ask for!?] 

“…Whether we are referring to data    collected by a State in aggregate form or student‐level data stored    by a school – we all share responsibility for those data [Nope. We don’t “share responsiblity,” dear feds. You have no business in our local educational data.] …The current and proposed    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations are a    critical piece of this effort; however, it is equally important to    consider that FERPA does not address the full scope of policies and    procedures that should be in place to adequately protect student    privacy in today’s world of evolving technology and information use.   [Did you just say what I think you said?  That privacy laws aren’t helpful enough, so we will revise these privacy laws, taking away parental consent and other safeguards, to make data more private??  Uh, that makes zero sense and you and I both know it, dear feds.] … The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has begun    several initiatives to provide technical assistance to States,    districts, and schools to protect the privacy rights of students,    promote the responsible use of data to inform education policy [Wait a minute.  To “inform educational policy” for a federal group who has no legal right to be making educational policies for states in the first place?  That makes no sense either.] and    practices and empower parents, teachers and students to use this    information to advocate for their rights…” [I feel here like I might throw up.  Did you just say  “empower parents” in the same paragraph that you mention the FERPA revisions which will delete parental consent law??]      

In all my life, I’ve never seen such doublespeak.  So Obama, Arne Duncan, and others –who have no constitutional right to direct or control states’ educational systems– are saying that they will protect student privacy by deleting parental consent.  It makes no sense at all because it is a lie.  They are not trying to protect student privacy, but the exact opposite.  They want to have access to student and family data that they have no right to.  What good can you think of that could come from the feds knowing intimate details about every single citizen from preschool to grave? 

Please stop thinking of these educational tests and only educational tests.  They are data collection vaccuum cleaners with the hoses sucking private data through schools to the federal government. In the information age, knowledge is power and the feds for whatever reason, clearly want to control every citizen by knowing everything about everyone.

Let’s just take a moment to breathe and think.

The wise founders of this country had oppression fresh on their minds.  So they wrote up the U.S. Constitution to protect future generations–us– from big government oppression. 

They set up our country so that states hold the most power.  Not the feds.  The founders gave very small, limited powers to the federal government.  In a very few cases, like military organization, it’s helpful to have someone organizing the states.  But in most things, including of course education, the feds have zero authority –ZERO AUTHORITY– to tell us what to do. 

It is illegal for them to tell states what to do with education. Illegal.  (9th and 10th Amendments, G.E.P.A. law, etc.) Remember that.  They can ask us for stuff all day long, but they can enforce nothing! 

And who is protecting us?  Ourselves!  Our own knowledge of our own power, and our willingness to stand up for it. 

The feds aren’t going to stand up for us; quite the opposite.  We have to stand up for ourselves and put up a wall they can’t come over, as Thomas Jefferson advised in 1791.

Freedom is not defended just by the Governor or the Representatives; it’s up to individuals on local school boards; it’s up to individual citizens who write to the State School Boards.  We are the ones defending our freedoms today, and if we neglect our Constitutional rights –or don’t know about them, and fail to stand up for them– we are the ones to blame.  Don’t blame the feds; they just asked for more power.  We are the only ones with the agency to foolishly hand that power over to them. 

Don’t do it.

Posted April 20, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

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