Archive for August 2013

The German Government Versus the Wunderlich Family   1 comment

The Wunderlich Family of Germany was attacked by their own government yesterday, as armed police stormed into their home and took away their four children.

There was no criminal charge of any kind– other than home-schooling.

This, in a so-called free nation? Although millions of children are home schooled legally in in many places, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Peru, Botswana, and so on, it is a sad fact that home school is now a punishable crime in Germany, Sweden, Beijing, and elsewhere.

And– while technically not illegal in the countries of France, Greece or Norway, it is extremely tightly –and sometimes cruelly– controlled by the governments there and elsewhere.

This nightmare treatment of the Wunderlich family, the Romeike family, the Himmelstrand family and others undermines the right for children to belong with and belong to their families, not to a government.

Our own President Obama said in his recent State of the Union address that he hopes the U.S. system will soon be more like Germany’s educational system. How can he admire it?

German educational-workforce tracking is efficient, sure. But it’s totally lacking in liberty; a heartless,worker-bee creating, human-dignity-sapping educational system.

By the way, Obama also derides private, religious schools, for being what he calls “divisive.”

Did we just get that right? The President of what is supposed to be the freest country on earth doesn’t approve of private or religious schools and likes the German example of education? So, does Obama approve of Germany’s actions against these families? His Attorney General Eric Holder sure does.

Would they approve of U.S. police taking away custody of the millions of U.S. children who are home schooled here, as well?

Considering the fact that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder kicked the Romeike family out of the USA, how far off are we from truly having to fight this fight?

Huge kudos to Congressman Marlin Stutzman of Indiana and the 26 additional members of Congress who recently signed a powerful letter to Attorney General Eric Holder saying what needed to be said: “Americans don’t subscribe to the European notion that children belong to the community or the state—they belong to their parents.” The letter also said:

Dear Attorney General Holder,

We respectfully ask that, as the chief law enforcement officer of a nation founded as a safe haven for those who seek liberty, you grant asylum to the Romeike family who fled to the United States in 2008 after suffering persecution from the German government as a result of their decision to homeschool their children.


A decision to deny the Romeikes the opportunity to educate their children freely is a decision to abandon our commitment to freedom.
Doing so would put America alongside those countries that believe children belong to the community or state. A country founded on freedom should stand for the fact that they belong to their parents.

Read the rest here.

Huffington Post Audits the Gates-Led –not State-led– Common Core   3 comments

Yesterday the Huffington Post published “A Brief Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending.” I learned from this article.

I already knew that Bill Gates spends billions implementing his personal version of education reforms –without any approval from American voters, without any authority other than his cash.

I already knew that Gates had singlehandedly paid for the development, creation and marketing of Common Core, which the Post noted, “demonstrates (sadly so) that when one has enough money, one can purchase fundamentally democratic institutions.” (The only part of Common Core that the federal government funds is common testing and interoperable longitudinal database set-up.)

I already knew that those promoting CCSS are deliberately misleading the public to believe that Common Core is ‘state-led’ when it is in fact “Gates-led.”

I already knew that with the help of Gates’ funding and connections, “strong state-federal partnerships” were colluding to accomplish the actually illegal goal of creating national education standards.

But I didn’t know, before reading the article, the extent to which Gates was involved in Common Core’s twin sister, the personal student data collection racket.

The article pointed out:

Gates gave $47.1 million to CCSSO …with the largest amount focused on data “access” and “data driven decisions“:

… Gates funded CCSSO an additional $31.9 million, with the largest grants earmarked for CSSS implementation and assessment, and data acquisition and control:

… [Gates’ stated] Purpose: to support the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in helping States’ to build their data inoperability capability

… Purpose: to partner with federal, state, public, and private interests to develop common, open, longitudinal data standards Amount: $3,185,750 …” (The list, when you read the whole article, is much longer.)

Also, I did not previously know that the company that Common Core lead creator David Coleman (a noneducator) started in 2007, Student Achievement Partners, has no work other than CCSS. They live and breathe to push Common Core on all of us.

David Coleman first created the SAP company. Then he led the creation of the Common Core standards, on which his company depends to survive. Then, when Coleman moved over to the radically influential position of College Board president, he aligned college entrance exams to his creation, Common Core. He benefits from the whole deal at the expense of legitimate education and local control, as does Bill Gates, who has now partnered with the word’s largest education sales company, Pearson, to create more money-making curriculum for all of us who are trapped under the Common Core.

I am not against people making tons of money. That’s not the issue; American capitalism and entrepreneurship are wonderful inventions.

What I oppose are these unrepresentative, public-private partnerships (often called P3’s). All Americans ought to oppose the circumvention of the American voter by any “philanthropy” that creates new governance structures over previously representative educational systems.

Who is Gates’ constituency? Who elected him? Nobody. And nobody can vote him out –except by not cowering to his grantmaking wand.

As the author of yesterday’s Huffington Post article put it:

“So much Gates cash, and so many hands willing to accept it. Bill Gates likes Common Core. So, he is purchasing it. In doing so, Gates demonstrates (sadly so) that when one has enough money, one can purchase fundamentally democratic institutions… Can Bill Gates buy a foundational democratic institution? Will America allow it? The fate of CCSS will provide crucial answers to those looming questions.”

Read the whole article here.

Please Pray for the Defeat of Common Core   26 comments

A long list of powerful groups endorse Common Core, despite all evidence that Common Core is academically and constitutionally illegitimate: the U.S. Army endorsed it; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Harvard University, the national P.T.A., Exxon, Chevron, Jeb Bush’s Foundation, the Bill Gates-Pearson partnership, the National Governors’ Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, etc. etc…

Yet parents and others who are fighting Common Core are STILL making a huge dent in the monster– so much so that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has had to appeal to national news editors, asking them to help him end the Stop Common Core rebellion. That says something.

Now, additional storm clouds are gathering, in the form of millions of new marketing dollars and in the form of government’s tax-funded propaganda campaigns and political videos being created by proponents of Common Core in many states, aiming to quash the uprising of parents and others fighting Common Core. Here in Utah, the state office of education tells its teachers in professional development conferences that only the misinformed “common core crazies” see dangers to Common Core.

We know cannot come up with multimillions to compete with Bill Gates; and we cannot compete with the marketing resources (tax money) of the Utah State Office of Education nor the U.S. Department of Education used to promote Common Core.

But we have the documented truth on our side.

Doesn’t truth trump everything?

It would seem we’re outnumbered.

But: as you talk to people all across this nation who are fighting Common Core, you realize something: Common Core fighters are people of faith— people of various faiths. I do not think this is a coincidence. People who value God’s truth and prize liberty, easily detect lies and the loss of liberties.

This is why I have hope.

When people of faith petition God for help, if the petition is good and the timing is approved, He helps. It’s proven; it’s documented throughout all Scripture.

We remember that God made an ocean of water stop so that the children of Israel could walk through on dry ground. We remember that the walls of Jericho fell down when the people of God marched around Jericho and made a loud noise, in faith. We remember that the colonists in America were saved from the massive destruction planned by the French fleets that outnumbered them in 1746, when they fasted and prayed and God sent storms to upset the fleets. We remember the many prayers of our founding fathers.

He conditions His interventions on faith and our acting on that faith.

So pray.

Please, if you are a prayer, actually petition God. Pray that many, many more people will feel compelled to seek out and learn the whole truth about this initiative and its roots, which so affect children and the quality of our future society and its freedoms; pray that many people will rise and exercise their citizenship and use their voices, so that Common Core and its tangled web of unwanted controls will be defeated by the facts and by the truth, so that time-tested education and local control of it will be restored.

Thank you.

A Sickening Turn of Events: Common Core-Approved Pornography May or May Not Be on This Year’s Standardized Test   27 comments

When I saw, both in a Politichicks article and in a Blaze article, that it was on the recommended reading list of Common Core for 11th grade students to read “The Bluest Eye,” a book that graphically, vividly narrates sex crimes of a child molester in first person, I found it hard to believe that this would be approved in my state.

I wrote to my state school board member.

“Dixie, please tell me that in Utah, we have not approved “The Bluest Eye” for our students’ English reading which is on the Common Core’s list of approved readings. Please tell me that our curriculum committee is more selective. This is disgusting child pornography.
Thank you for finding out the answer.”

She wrote back after consulting with someone at the Office of Education with an assurance that although it was recommended by Common Core, it was not recommended by the Utah State Office of Education. Here is that letter:

“I hope this helps-was what I thought but wanted to be sure.

Dixie

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Dickson, Sydnee”
Date: Aug 25, 2013 10:43 AM
Subject: RE: Common Core approved reading: The Bluest Eye
To: “Allen, Dixie”
Cc: “Hales, Brenda”

Dixie,
You are correct in that there are no prescribed texts for the Common Core. There are examples of texts that could be used for text complexity by grade level but this is certainly not one of them in Utah. When you go to our Appendix A and look at the suggestions for 11th grade, you will not find Bluest Eyes listed http://schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartelem/Core-Standards/ELA-Color-Standards-8-12-13.aspx. When you look at Appendix B (pg. 154) in the document published by CCSSO and NGA you will find the following brief excerpt from Bluest Eyes considered as a piece of text with complex language. This is not a recommended book but a section of brief text from the book.

[Excerpt was shared here from Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”]

We have not recommended this excerpt nor is it published in our Core ELA Standards documents. Because the Common Core is NOT a prescribed curriculum, districts, schools, and teachers are free to use texts and materials that comply with their district policies. This is not a book or text that would be likely be approved by schools in Utah. Also, we are developing digital texts by teachers for teachers and have started with 6-8. Those can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartsec/Digital-Books.aspx. Last, and most importantly, we have the RIMS review process that is conducted by a commission of appointed community leaders, parents, and educators. They create a list of published materials that are recommended, recommended with reservation, or not recommended. That list can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/imc/RIMs-Search.aspx. You will not find Bluest Eyes on that list as it has not been requested to be reviewed by either a publisher or a school/district.”

————————————————————————–

For a moment, I was relieved. Utah students were off the pedophilia-literature hook, it seemed.

But then the wheels started turning in my head again. Ms. Dickson had written that the book was not recommended reading in Utah. But we know that Utah’s teachers must follow the national Common Core to prepare children for a nationally-aligned Common Core test (AIR test) this year.

It would seem that an excerpt from this book or any Common Core approved book could be used on Utah’s AIR test, since AIR writes the test to Common Core alignment. Since I wasn’t completely sure whether AIR writes to Utah’s recommended reading list or to Common Core’s recommended readings, I asked Dixie to find out for me. I’m waiting very anxiously to hear back.

Meanwhile, I fact-checked the Blaze article’s statement that said that the Common Core expected students to read the whole texts, not just excerpts. Sadly, that was correct!

At the official Common Core website, it says: “When excerpts appear, they serve only as stand-ins for the full text. The Standards require that students engage with appropriately complex literary and informational works; such complexity is best found in whole texts rather than passages from such texts.”

So, “improving college and career readiness” and “rigor” means, to the architects of Common Core, exposing 11th graders to the literature of pedophilia.

I’m worried about what kinds of “literature” may appear on the Common Core test that Utah students will be exposed to this year. I’m also worried about their exposure to the new version of the ACT/SAT –since David Coleman has both led the creation of Common Core and is now the College Board president. He’s said he’s altering college entrance exams to match his vision of what college and career readiness means. I do not like and do not trust that man.

Then there’s this:

In Utah, there’s a law that 15 parents will be chosen to serve on a test watching committee. These 15 can see the test questions for the new Common Core AIR tests. I applied to be on the 15 parent panel. (I hope many, many Utah parents apply.) The state wrote back to say they received my application, and that I should know that there is a confidentiality agreement. So if any parent serving on this committee sees anything we find unacceptable like this, we can not speak out and specify what we saw. This seems to defeat the purpose of having the committee.

All of this makes me despise the Common Core Initiative, it’s nontransparent testing and nonrepresentative decision making, more and more and more.

Speech: Maine State School Board Member Heidi Sampson at No Common Core Maine Rally and Press Conference   3 comments

“On a daily basis, people are realizing for the first time the significant impact of Common Core and are becoming increasingly concerned. This is not another educational fad that will pass away. The people of Maine must become informed and let their voices be heard.” – Heidi Sampson, Maine State School Board

heidi sampson -2013-1529

It’s not just parents anymore. You can find local and state school board members, local and state superintendents, congressmen, senators, local and state representatives, principals and teachers who are speaking out against Common Core.

One such notable example is Heidi Sampson of the Maine State School Board.

Maine’s Bangor Daily News reported that the Maine Equal Rights Center and No Common Core Maine (co-founded by Maine State School Board member Heidi Sampson) have launched a citizens’ petition to repeal Common Core.

The effort will create a ballot question which will go to a November 2014 referendum if petitioners gather enough signatures. This is the first nationwide referendum to stop Common Core.

Already, a TV 5 Maine WABI poll this week found that, 85% of polled Mainers feel Common Core should be repealed.

Apparently, when a state school board member and countless parents begin to speak out against an unvetted education reform, people listen.

Read more of the news article here.

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Rally Speech

Heidi Sampson has provided the full text of her August 21 No Common Core rally speech, below. It was given Wednesday night in Augusta, Maine.

“Welcome to our first No Common Core Maine Rally.

My name is Heidi Sampson. I want to welcome you tonight. I welcome you as a mom; actually a homeschooling mom, a very soon to be grandparent and a concerned citizen.

I am one of the founders of NO COMMON CORE MAINE. I am also a member of the State Board of Education and the Maine Charter School Commission whom I do not represent tonight.

No Common Core Maine – is a grassroots organization made up of parents, grandparents, teachers, legislators and concerned citizens. We are an autonomous group united for the common cause of removing CC and it’s assessments from our schools. We welcome any and all who are interested and would like to come along side us and offer their support. We are not a mutually exclusive group however, we do stand
independently. With that being said, if you represent a specific group and you share our vision, talk to one of the NO COMMON CORE MAINE Team. You will see folks in the
audience with No Common Core Maine pins or T-Shirts on…talk to any of them should you have questions.

My life was pretty full even before accepting the governor’s nomination to the State Board of Ed. But since I have been given an ‘up close and personal’ view of the way things are working with respect to education in this nation and especially in this state, I cannot stand idle! So with this effort, my life is about the get a whole lot fuller!!

Folks, we as a whole are inadvertently being dragged unwittingly down a path that is destructive to the future of our children, our state and our nation! The price tag alone will bankrupt us, ruining the future for our children! The catch phrases that are neatly wrapped in appealing terminology, has set us off guard. We will be losing all
our parental rights from curriculum to privacy once Common Core is fully implemented next year! This is not something that is a fad in education…there are too many strategic
pieces in place to slam the door tightly shut.

The people of Maine have not been given the respect they deserve! There has been a deliberate effort by the proponents of the Common Core State Standards to bypass the
public, the legislature to a great extent in order to quietly lock this unpiloted, untested and significantly dumbed down agenda into place before anyone notices and wakes up to smell the coffee.

• People, do you believe in our state’s sovereignty?

• Do you believe in local control?

• Do we the people of Maine have a right to reclaim what has been stolen from us?

• Do we have a right to re-claim our children?

As a parent and a resident of this state – I am deeply troubled, actually – incensed by this whole movement!

What you see tonight is the beginning of a grassroots effort to nullify the Common Core State Standards and the entire tangled web this state has already entangled us in with
regard to the assessments. We intend to take this to the people of Maine, let them hear the facts….the rest of the story and then decide at the polls.

Do we have any teachers in the audience? [Several hands shot up.] Teachers – we support you!!

Teachers have become the fall guys to a system that is being destroyed from the top down. Teachers are being stripped of their profession being replaced by a machine that is going to determine their career future.

I just got this note from a wonderful teacher – a teacher of the year, actually:

“It’s always a pleasure and refreshing to hear your views. What you stand for is a strong belief of many (teachers), trust me. The belief I love the most is how you stand up for teachers and seeking that they are treated as professionals and not turned into a robot
or machine. I look forward to watching and following your rally on August 21, it should be very interesting to see what happens. … I enjoy the articles on facebook and the
website as you get to see the other views, instead of just the same information being forced down people’s throats

The plan to track teachers as well as the students they have taught is very troubling.

I have to confess that I wouldn’t have wanted any teacher’s career dependent upon my test taking abilities; I’d get bored and then try and figure out different designs I could make by filling in the dots. I actually figured out how to make a pine tree once and thought that was pretty cool. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who has done that…just the only one who is will to admit it!

Where’s the human factor? It’s a human being who can inspire and motivate.

• It’s a human being who can show a child a world they have never imagined.

• It’s human being who can encourage a child to explore an area they at first might think not interesting, only to discover what makes them tick!!

• It’s a teacher who can connect with a child and give them a vision and a purpose!!

Did you know there are rules in the law to provide mentoring programs for teachers to help them to develop and become effective and inspiring?

Again, it’s the human factor that can make this great!!!

Empower, train, prepare and equip teachers to be excellent!

Guess what? There is no money to fund this simple effort.

The cost for this would be well worth it and would be minimal compared to the insane cost of paying for assessments.

However, instead of following laws that are currently on the books, this state has decided to make new laws (with really NO public input) forcing the state to spend over $4 million every year (way more than we spend now) forcing our children to take test created by a detached organization in California called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia.

We give up all local control for education – our sovereign right, btw! The teachers, the principals, the superintendents, the school boards will have neither say nor power to change any of it. Teachers’ futures hang in the balance. As I speak, droves of teachers are leaving their profession – utterly exasperated, frustrated and destroyed! This is a travesty!! Why aren’t they speaking up?

Even though we passed an anti-bullying law… I dare say those most victim to bullying now are the teachers!! What happens if they speak out? We are speaking for them!!!

Why can’t we have seasoned, experienced, knowledgeable teachers work with new teachers? There’s nothing like a dynamic, inspiring, motivating teacher engaging with their students. This will never happen with the computer directing their learning or determining their academic ability! Teachers should be allowed to exercise their skills and hone their profession like any other professional. They should not be relegated to simply being a mentor or a glorified baby sitter. This is insulting to a profession that used to be respected and treated with dignity.

So where do we go from here? I’ll give you a hint!

What is Maine’s motto? Dirigo = I lead!

That means we are the head, not the tail!

I say – stop experimenting on our kids!

Do we really need a center for ‘best practices’ – simply nice looking experiments?

Or do we want proven practices – practices that actually work and have worked over time!!!

It’s proven practices that will allow us to lead!!

We can lead!!

We can lead with better math standards, Maine used to be 5th
(back in 2001)! What happened?

I say – We can do that again!

We can lead with proven English Language Arts standards!

Massachusetts had them! They led the nation for 10 years and were truly internationally ranked! Now that they’ve adopted CCSS they are slipping in their ranks – hmmm that’s
interesting!

We can lead with proven practices!

We can do better!!! Our children deserve better – why limit their potential???

I tell you if you raise the bar and they will reach it!

They will excel!

They will lead!

We don’t need to listen to those who play word games using terms like internationally benchmarked, rigor and college & career readiness.

Experts say that just isn’t so!! Those words are nothing more than semantic deception!!!

We can just by-pass all that – chart our own course and set sail on the Highest Sea!

Become informed and share what you learn! They want us to be dumbed down… this is the antidote… GET INFORMED!

Check out our website: http://www.commoncoremaine.com

facebook – No Common Core Maine

We have a great line up of speakers for you tonight!

Detailed bios in packets

Jamie Gass- is Pioneer Institute’s Director of the Center for School Reform.

Erin Tuttle- is one of Two Moms Against Common Core from Indiana.

Christel Swasey is one of the 3 moms in Utah. Check out their website. It’s most impressive.

Erika Russell – Sidney, Maine, Mom and one of several folks responsible for bringing awareness about Mass Customized Learning in RSU18 – you may have read some articles about that whole issue.”

——————————————————-

Thanks to Heidi Sampson for sharing her speech and for showing exceptional courage and leadership in the movement to stop Common Core in Maine and nationwide, as a member of the Maine State School Board.

Without Authority: The Federal Access of Private Data Using Common Core   6 comments

Data Baby


On Wednesday, I gave this talk at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta, Maine. I spoke alongside Erin Tuttle, Indiana mother against Common Core; Jamie Gass, of Pioneer Institute; Heidi Sampson, board member of the Maine State School Board, and Erika Russell, Maine mother against Common Core. I hope to publish the other speakers’ speeches here soon.

——————————————————-

Speaking with legislators in Utah, I’ve learned that the number one concern that Utah constituents repeatedly bring up to representatives is the Common Core and its related data mining.

Utah has not yet followed the lead of Indiana, Michigan and other states in pausing and/or defunding the Common Core, but I believe Utah legislators will soon take a stand. They have to; the state school board and governor won’t, even though the Utah GOP voted on and passed an anti-common core resolution this year, and even though thousands of Utahns are persistently bringing up documented facts to their leaders showing that Common Core damages local liberties and damages the legitimate, classical education tradition that Utahns have treasured.

My talk today will explain how federal data mining is taking place with the assistance of the Common Core initiative.

………………………

The Declaration of Independence states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed”.

So, I ask: Have voters given consent to be governed in matters of education, by the federal government? Nope.

Does the federal government hold any authority to set educational standards and tests, or to collect private student data?

Absolutely not.

The Constitution reserves all educational authority to the states; the General Educational Provisions Act expressly prohibits the federal government from controlling, supervising or directing school systems; and the Fourth Amendment claims “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”.

Clearly, the federal government lacks authority to search private data, to produce common tests, or to promote common standards, yet using private institutions, secretive regulatory changes to privacy laws, long-winded grantmaking contracts, and a well-intentioned governors’ club and superintedents’ club as smokescreens, it is overstepping its bounds and is falsely assuming these powers.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is fully aware of these limitations placed upon his agency.

This summer Duncan made another speech, saying critics of Common Core were making outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t.”</strong>

I need to get that quote cross-stitched and framed.

For years, Duncan has been saying that, “Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more…”

Translation: Duncan and Obama won’t let pesky laws nor the U.S. Constitution stop them from their control grab even though they’re fully aware of the laws of the land.

Are they really collecting student data without parental knowledge or consent?

How are the Common Core standards and tests involved?
There are at least six answers.

The U.S. Department of Education is:

1. STUNTING STANDARDS WITH A PRIVATE COPYRIGHT AND A 15% CAP FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRACKING STUDENTS:

Why would the federal government want to stunt education? Why would they say to any state, “Don’t add more than 15% to these common standards.” ? Simple: they can’t track and control the people without a one-size-measures-all measuring stick. It is irrelevant to them that many students will be dumbed down by this policy; they just want that measure to match so they can track and compare their “human capital.”

The federal Department of Education works intimately with the Superintendents’ club known as the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). After the CCSSO wrote and copyrighted the Common Core standards –in partnership with the governors’ club (NGA)– the federal government put a cap over that copyright, saying that all states who adopted Common Core must adhere to it exactly, not adding any more than 15% to those standards, regardless of the needs, goals or abilities of local students. This stunting is embarrassing and most state boards of education try to deny it. But it’s published in many places, both federal and private: That 15% cap is reiterated in the federal Race to the Top Grant, the federal NCLB Waiver, the federal Race to the top for Assessments grant, the SBAC testing consortia criteria, the PARCC eligibility requirement, the Achieve, Inc rules (Achieve Inc. is the contractor who was paid by CCSSO/NGA/Bill Gates to write the standards).

2. CREATING MULTIPLE NATIONAL DATA COLLECTION MECHANISMS

a) Cooperative Agreement with Common Core Testers

In its Cooperative Agreement with the testing group known as Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) the federal government mandated that tests “Comply with… requirements… including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis… subject to applicable privacy laws.” Making student-level data available means that personally identifiable student information, such as name, academic scores, contact information, parental information, behavioral information, or any information gathered by common core tests, will be available to the federal government when common core tests begin.

b) Edfacts Data Exchange

Another federal data collection mechanism is the federal EDFACTS data exchange, where state databases submit information about students and teachers so that the federal government can “centralize performance data” and “provide data for planning, policy and management at the federal, state and local levels”. Now, they state that this is just aggregated data, such as grouped data by race, ethnicity or by special population subgroups; not personally identifiable student information. But the federal agency asks states to share the intimate, personally identifiable information at the NCES National Data Collection Model

c) National Data Collection Model

It asks for hundreds and hundreds of data points, including:

your child’s name
nickname
religious affiliation
birthdate
ability grouping
GPA
physical characteristics
IEP
attendance
telephone number
bus stop times
allergies
diseases
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
delinquent status
referral date
nonschool activity involvement
meal type
screen name
maternal last name
voting status
martial status
– and even cause of death.

People may say that this is not mandatory federal data collection. True; yet it’s a federal data model and many are following it.

d) CCSSO and EIMAC’s DATA QUALITY CAMPAIGN and Common Educational Data Statistics

The Dept. of Education is partnered with the national superintendents’ club, the CCSSO in a common data collection push: common data standards are asked for at the website called Common Education Data Standards, which is “a joint effort by the CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.

Also at the same CCSSO site (remember, this is a private Common Core-creators’ website, and not a voter-accountable group) CCSSO we learn that the CCSSO runs a program called the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) with this purpose: “improve the overall quality of the data collected at the NATIONAL level.” – See more at: http://www.ccsso.org/What_We_Do/Education_Data_and_Information_Systems.html#sthash.L2t0sFCm.dpuf

The CCSSO’s Data Quality Campaign has said that
“as states build and enhance K12 longitudinal data systems they continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce and with other critical agencies such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”

Let that sink in: linking data from schools, medical clinics, and criminal justice systems is the goal of the USDOE-CCSSO partnership.

And it’s already begun.

There are state data alliances that connect data in state agencies, and there are federal data alliances, too. In Utah, the Utah Data Alliance uses the state database to link six agencies that enables examination of citizens from preschool through the workforce. On the federal level, the Department of Defense has partnered with the Department of Education.

3. PROMOTING CORPORATE DATA COLLECTION

Data-mashing across federal agencies and is not the only way in which data is becoming accessible by greater numbers of eyes. It’s also across corporate entities that data sharing is becoming more and more of a push.

At a recent White House event called “Datapalooza,” the CEO of Escholar stated that Common Core is the “glue that actually ties everything together.” Without the aligned common standards, corporate-aligned curriculum, and federally-structured common tests, there would be no common measurement to compare and control children and adults.

4. BUILDING A CONCEALED NATIONAL DATABASE BY FUNDING 50 STATE DATABASES THAT ARE INTEROPERABLE

Every state now has a state longitudinal database system (SLDS) that was paid for by the federal government. Although it might appear not to be a national database, I ask myself why one of the conditions of getting the ARRA funds for the SLDS database was that states had to build their SLDS to be interoperable from school to district to state to inter-state systems. I ask myself why the federal government was so intent upon making sure every state had this same, interoperable system. I ask myself why the grant competition that was offered to states (Race to the Top) gave out more points to those states who had adopted Common Core AND who had built an SLDS. It appears that we have a national database parading as fifty individual SLDS systems.

5. SHREDDING FEDERAL PRIVACY LAW AND CRUSHED PARENTAL CONSENT REQUIREMENT

There was, up until recently, an old, good federal law called FERPA: Family Educational Rights Privacy Act. It stated, among other things, that no one could view private student data without getting written parental consent.

That was then. This is now.

Without getting permission from Congress to alter the privacy law, the Department of Education made so many regulatory changes to FERPA that it’s virtually meaningless now. The Department of Ed loosened terms and redefined words such as “educational agency,” “authorized representative,” and “personally identifiable information.” They even reduced “parental consent” from a requirement to a “best practice.”

The Department of Ed formally defined the term “biometric” on a list of ways a student would be personally identified: “Biometric record,” as used in the definition of “personally identifiable information,” means a record of one or
more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be
used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include
fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.

For all of this, the Department has been sued.

6. RELEASING A REPORT PROMOTING BIOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL DATAMINING TECHNIQUES

In his speech to the American Society of News Editors this year, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that there is no federal collection of student data, and then he said, “Let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping. This work is interesting, but frankly, not that interesting.”

This was another attempt to mock those who are doing their homework, and to further deceive the American people. Because biometric data mining (biometric is defined by the Dept. of Ed as biological and behavioral characteristics of students –see above–) is exactly what Duncan is advocating. In the 2013 Department of Education report entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance” the federal government recommends the use of data-mining techniques that use physical responses from biofeedback devices to measure mood, blood volume, pulses and galvanic skin responses, to examine student frustration and to gather “smile intensity scores.” Using posture analysis seats, a pressure mouse, wireless skin conductors, schools are encouraged to learn which students might lack “grit, tenacity and perserverance” in engaging with, or in believing, what is being taught.

Grit sensors

We can call the bluff on the Department of Education and on the Council of Chief State School Officers. They have no authority to gather private student data without parental knowledge or consent. We can help state leaders understand and fight against what is going on, and help them to say no to what the CCSSO terms their “coordinated data ask.” Strong legislation can be written and SLDS systems can be reworked to end privacy threatening interoperability frameworks.

Here’s a To-Do list for state representatives:

— We can stop the 50 states’ SLDS interoperability.

— We can make it possible for parents and students to opt out of the Common Core tests without penalizing the student academically.

— We can make it possible for parents and students to opt out of the SLDS tracking and surveillance databases.

— We can stop the educational and data mining malpractice that is clearly happening under the Common Core Initiative, remembering what Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University said: “When school administrators implement programs and policies built on faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice.”

We, the People, have to call them on it.

Video Speech of the Most Courageous Superintendent in America at His Stop Common Core Rally   4 comments

Dr. Joseph Rella, Superintendent of Comsewogue School District in New York State, spoke to about two thousand parents on Saturday at a rally the superintendent called for, in order to stop Common Core.

Parents cheered wildly throughout the speech. One voice shouted out, “You’re our hero, Dr. Rella!” and the crowd broke out into loud cheers and applause over and over.

Countless parents in other school districts all over America are praying that their own superintendents will show the kind of courage and leadership that Dr. Rella displayed on Saturday. Thank you, Dr. Rella.

Here is the video of the speech Dr. Rella gave at the history-making event.

At minute 00:30 Dr. Rella said:

“To a greater or lesser extent, all of us have felt helpless, demoralized, frustrated, scared, angry, frightened for our children’s futures… Things have changed so much; they have, haven’t they? Well, remember. We– all of us– have been passengers on a plane being built in mid air, as our commissioner described his APPR initiative, but it applies to so many other things that are happening. There are a lot of planes. The Common Core plane, the PARCC plane. Well, none of that sad stuff today. None. No long faces because today, we are cancelling our flight reservations.

…Today’s message is a very simple and very important one. The New York State Common Core Initiative, its implementation and testing regimen is hurting our children and it must stop now.

… Any test designed to have 70% of the children taking it, fail, is abusive. We have to ask the question: what’s right about it? What’s right about any initiative that puts families in turmoil, puts dedicated people in fear of losing their livelihoods, and now the ultimate… damaging a child’s self-image and altering perhaps permanently a child’s self-definition? They should be ashamed of themselves.

… If you want to know how your child is doing in school, ask your child’s teacher. Ask your child’s principal.

…The Common Core Initiative is hurting our children. It must be examined by educational professionals, not businessmen.

…STOP IT, FIX IT, or SCRAP IT.

…I would like to put this as a motion before this magnificent assembly, a motion to approve the following resolution:

Whereas, the New York Common Core Initiative, implementation and testing regimen hurts children, and whereas, we believe that our children are a light, a beacon, and that this light is in serious jeopardy of being extinguished by this abusive initiative, now therefore be it resolved; we call upon the Governor, the Regents, the Commissioner of Education, and the state legislature, to call a halt to it immediately and have it examined by educators.

If it’s capable of being fixed, fix it. If it is not, then throw it out. Stop it, fix it or scrap it. Do I have a second for that motion? All in favor say Aye. [Cheering- AYE!] All opposed? [silence] The motion carries.”