Here we go again.
“Education reformists” (corporate, federal, and state) use this pattern repeatedly. This is how they get fat with power and money at the expense of freedom and good policy.
1) Write a bill (this time, SETRA) that does not do the same thing that its talking points claim it will do, so that when busy congressmen rely on its talking points, and not on the text itself, they’ll vote for it.
2) They make sure to keep it so quiet that nobody talks about it: not the mainstream media, not the Department of Education.
(Remember last month, when Secretary Duncan said, “We were intentionally quiet on the bill – they asked us specifically not to praise it – and to let it get through. And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact. . . . Our goal was to get this bill passed – intentionally silent…”)
Remember Senator Lee’s words last month, days before ESSA passed:
“So from the surface, it will still look like the conference process is happening the way it’s supposed to. But beneath the surface we know that all of this has already been pre-arranged, pre-cooked, pre-determined… by a select few members of Congress, working behind closed doors, free from scrutiny. And we know that this vote was scheduled on extremely short notice, so that it would be difficult – if not impossible – for the rest of us to influence the substance of the conference”.
4) Then they laugh and reap the financial and power-grabbing rewards.
We can stop them. Ask your Representative to Stop SETRA. Ask him or her to call for a recorded vote on SETRA. Call 202-224-3121. Call repeatedly.
SETRA has passed the US Senate already.
In an article at Pulse2016, Karen Effrem, MD, explained that SETRA appears to prohibit a national database on children, but lacking any enforcement mechanism, will do the opposite. In fact, she points out:
“SETRA seeks to expand federal psychological profiling of our children. Section 132 of the bill (page 28, line 16-21) inserts the following: ‘and which may include research on social and emotional learning, and the acquisition of competencies and skills…’ ”
Reading Dr. Effrem’s article and sharing it with members of the House of Representatives feels especially imperative considering the recent policy draft, a joint action by the Department of Education with the Department of Health and Human Services, that says that it will:
- Implement a vision for family engagement that begins PRENATALLY and continues across settings and throughout a child’s developmental and educational experiences.
- Develop and integrate family engagement indicators into existing data systems
- Local schools and programs should track progress on family engagement goals, as detailed in family engagement plans.
Want family autonomy to continue? Stop SETRA. Without the authority to data mine children and families, they cannot expand the SLDS systems. SERTA will increase the stalking already taking place on each public school attending child and family. SETRA is the data mining assistant of ESSA.
On Facebook today, a friend said that fighting SETRA didn’t matter; that data mining was already a done deal, so why fight it?
It’s true that each state already has a federally designed, federally funded, federally interoperable database called a State Longitudinal Database System, but thus far, the SLDS are, at least theoretically, limited to collecting academic data. The SETRA bill spells out that the government will authorize psychological, belief based data (aka social, emotional data). We don’t want this to be national law.
Here is a link to the bill: http://edworkforce.house.gov/educationresearch/