Archive for November 2016
Alyson Williams, who worked in data management for the publishing industry, a mother who has written and spoken much about education and data reforms over the past several years, has just given a speech at the Agency Based Education Conference.
It’s worth your time.
Alyson raises and expands upon many of the issues that are also being raised by other data privacy experts, including American Principles Project, Elana Zeide, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Education Liberty Watch, Return to Parental Rights, the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
She asks us to consider how current trends toward consent-less gathering and use of student data are to be affected by frameworks already in place (such as SLDS databases) and by new movements, such as the federal Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (CEP) and the Competency-based Education reforms now arising in many legislatures (including Utah’s) today. She points out that a key cheerleader for Competency-based Education is Marc Tucker, the avowed enemy to local control of education who is, nonetheless, a mistakenly respected advisor to the Utah legislature. How might Marc Tucker’s CBE Baby affect my children and yours?
Please watch and share with your legislators.
I agree with Joy Pullman: “I shouldn’t have to give a flying fig about whom Donald Trump picks for this position.”
But we care, and the figs are flying, because there’s so much power unconstitutionally wielded by the executive branch over local education.
Although Trump did say in a campaign interview that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, it does not look as though that’s going to happen, sadly. The next best thing is to name a local-control oriented, constitution-loving Education Secretary.
Will Trump do that?
Trump’s choice of ed guru Bill Evers to his transition team spoke hope to those opposed to Common Core. Evers, a scholar at Hoover Institute (Stanford University) had been speaking out and writing books, white papers, think tank documents, and columns against Common Core; he served on panels and published opinion editorials against the nationalization of our formerly autonomous educational system. He’d been featured widely for his scholarship and activism; see for example, Breitbart, CSPAN, Stanford University, Utahns Against Common Core, Education Reporter.
Evers proclaimed that Common Core “violated the traditions of open debate and citizen control that are supposed to undergird public schooling” and said that “Common Core’s national uniformity runs counter to competitive federalism”.
Surely Evers would turn the Common Core machine around, thought parents and freedom loving teachers across this nation, and they took action.
A public letter from United States Parents Involved in Education last week pleaded with Trump to choose Dr. Bill Evers for Education Secretary. (See who signed that letter here.)
A similar public letter from Parents Against Common Core asked Trump to consider, along with Dr. Bill Evers, Dr. Larry Arnn, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Peg Luksik, or Dr. William Jeynes.
You can still sign that letter here.
Frighteningly though, this week Trump interviewed Michelle Rhee, one of the top ten scariest education reformers in the nation, for the job; the scandal-pocked former Commissioner of Education in D.C. and author of a creepy ed reform book, “Radical” is no friend to children, to opt-out liberty, or to the free market. Of “letting them choose wherever they want to go,” she said, “I don’t believe in that model at all.” So, Goodbye freedom, under Rhee.
There should be no chance that she’s chosen. (Even though she’s suddenly, cutely, dressing in red, white and blue to meet the president elect, do not be fooled!)
I hope Trump’s receiving a storm of anti-Rhee letters this week from parents and educators at his public input website. He’s probably going to make his announcement this week. Please, please speak up.
#BillEvers for Secretary! #NeverRhee!
This must-read article is partially reposted from Emily Talmage’s blog (Maine mom against common core). I think my favorite part is the video clip at the end, depicting a real cat and a real alligator, where the cat swats and intimidates the alligator, causing it to retreat in fear. What an iconic metaphor for what we the little people are trying to do as we fight the machine.
Read the whole article at EmilyTalmage.com.
Several weeks ago, I wondered in a blog post whether or not public education would survive the next administration. Admittedly, I was all but certain at the time that Hillary Clinton would be our next president, and my predictions were more than dismal: more screen time for even our youngest children, inflated local budgets, invasive school-wide and individual data collection, a proliferation of low-quality online K-12 and higher education programs, etc.
Ever since the big shock of Tuesday night, however, I’ve been scrambling to say something coherent about what we can expect now that Donald Trump really is going to be our next president.
Will public education survive?
Here’s the funny (and by that I mean incredibly scary) thing about federal public education policy: the big agenda – the real agenda – seems to survive no matter who is put in charge.
The real agenda – the ongoing march toward a cradle-to-grave system of human capital development that relies on the most sophisticated data collection and tracking technologies to serve its unthinkably profitable end – is fueled and directed by a multi-billion dollar education-industrial-complex that has been built over the course of decades.
It’s an absolute beast, an army of epic scale, and it’s a system that has the same uncanny ability to blend in with its surroundings as a chameleon.
Take, for example, the new “innovative assessment systems” that are being thrust on us every which way in the wake of ESSA. Under the banner of free market ideology, the far-right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is promoting the very same assessment policies that far-left groups like the national unions and the National Center for Fair and Open Testing are now pushing. And though some claim that one ideology is merely “co-opting” the ideas of the other, the reality is that they lead to the same data-mining, cradle-to-career tracking end.
Consider, too, the massive push for blended, competency-based, and digital learning – all unproven methods of educating children, but highly favored by ed-tech providers and data-miners.
Most of these corporate-backed policies were cooked up in Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, and then made their way not only to the far-right ALEC, but also to left-leaning groups like the Center for Collaborative Education, the Coalition for Essential Schools, and the Great Schools Partnership. Depending on what sort of population each group is targeting, these wolves will dress themselves up in sheep’s clothing and make appeals to different values. For the right, they will package their policies in the language of the free market and choice; for the left, they will wrap them in a blanket of social-justice terminology.
Pull back the curtain far enough, however, and you will see they are selling the same thing.
There is, of course, no question that Hillary Clinton has been deeply entrenched in the education-industrial-complex for many, many years – even profiting from it personally – and that the big agenda was going to move full speed ahead if she were elected.
But what will happen now that we’re guaranteed to have a President Trump?
Unfortunately, we need look no further than the man leading Trump’s education transition team to understand how much trouble we are in.
Not long ago, Gerard Robinson, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was one of only eleven members of the Executive Team of Jeb Bush’s “Digital Learning Now!” council, along with Joel Klein of NYC Public Schools, Gregory McGinity of the Broad Foundation, and Susan Patrick of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.
Former Gates Foundation executive Tom Vander Ark, who sits on the board of the world’s creepiest education organizations while overseeing a giant portfolio of digital and online learning companies, picked Robinson as one of his top ten reformers to watch back in 2010.
It should be no surprise, then, that Robinson recently told EdWeek: “I see [Trump] supporting blended learning models, alternative learning models,” and that he will “likely want to continue significant investments in colleges and universities, but also closely track how well graduates do in the labor market.”
That’s all part of the big agenda right there, and here is no big surprise: for-profit education chains are already seeing their stocks rise.
For those of you now protesting that Trump said he would get rid of the Department of Education, well, President Reagan said that too, but then he sponsored a report called “A Nation at Risk” which kicked the role of the federal government in education into high gear. According to Robinson, Trump may “streamline” the department …whatever that means.
As for rumors circulating that either Ben Carson or William Evers of the Hoover Institute will be tapped for the role of Education Secretary under Trump, I think we’re more likely to get someone akin to what Robinson told Edweek: “Someone from the private sector, who may not have worked in education directly, but may be involved in philanthropy or some kind of reform.”
So what does this mean for us? For our kids, our schools and our communities?
More than likely, it won’t be much different nor any less dismal than what I wrote when I assumed Hillary would be president: more screen time for even our youngest children, inflated local budgets to support one-to-one tech initiatives, invasive (way more invasive) school-wide and individual data collection, and a proliferation of low-quality online K-12 and higher education programs.
And this is a big unless..
Unless parents and activists from across the political spectrum can mobilize now and stand up now to say enough is enough. We knowwhat the big agenda is, and we aren’t going to manipulated by superficial policy change anymore.
This means that those who lean right can’t afford to go back to sleep once they hear talk of school choice and vouchers and the elimination of Common Core, and those leaning left can’t afford to throw in the towel or be led astray by phony anti-privatization movements run by neoliberal groups pushing the same darn thing as everyone else…
Read the rest here…
Miracles do happen.
Utah’s liberty-loving, anti-common core community did a lot of happy dancing last night when candidates Alisa Ellis, Michelle Boulter and Lisa Cummins won three seats on the state school board. This election showed what can happen when people actually get to vote, instead of having the governor appoint board members, as had happened for so many years in the past.
Utah’s board finally has vibrant voices and votes for parent-and-teacher directed, not federal-corporate directed control of curriculum, testing, and student data.
Although the Utah anti-common core community was saddened that the heroic Dr. Gary Thompson (pictured above with Senator Mike Lee and Lisa Cummins) did not win his bid for a seat on the state school board, his campaign had an undeniable impact in raising awareness about student mental health, student data privacy, and the supremacy of family /parental rights. How often Dr. Thompson repeated this truth: “Parents are, and always must be, the resident experts of their children”.
The spirit of what Dr. Thompson’s all about thrives in Alisa, Michelle and Lisa.
The news of three of our strongest freedom-fighter parents taking three seats on the state school board is nothing short of miraculous.
Here are 6 reasons that a vote for Trump will help preserve freedoms for our children– including freedom from Common Core– contrasted with 6 reasons that a vote for Hillary (or a third party who can’t beat her) will dramatically reduce the future freedoms of our children.
Reason #1: Religious Liberty and Freedom of Conscience
Hillary’s aiming to remove religious liberty and freedom of conscience from schools and from society. She has called for this:
“All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced… laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” (see video minute 8-9)
Trump supports religious freedom! He supports the important First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) of Senator Mike Lee, which aims to preserve religious liberty. Trump has also said:
“‘I would like them to pray for guidance and to pray for our country because we need prayer now almost more than we’ve ever needed it before.”
How might presidential stands for or against religious liberty trickle down into school curricula, and into laws concerning churches and homes?
Reason # 2: Trump’s opposed to Common Core.
His campaign video about education explains that America must “end Common Core,” which he calls “a disaster” because “education has to be local“. At rallies like this one in Wilmington, North Carolina, he’s said: “We’ve got to get rid of Common Core.”
On a Fox News interview, when asked if he would cut departments, Trump said, “I may cut the Department of Education“.
In the March presidential debate, Trump said, “Education through Washington, D.C., I don’t want that. I want local education. I want the parents and I want all of the teachers, and I want everybody to get together around a school and to make education great.” This contrasts greatly with Hillary, who mocked local control.
She called Common Core nothing more than a “political failure.” She said, “…this was a political failure because they negotiated something and they had no real agreed-upon program for explaining it and selling it to people so that they left an opening for those who were always in the education debate, who don’t think anybody should be told anything about what to study, even if it’s the multiplication tables. You know, that that should all be left to local control. And then you get into more complicated areas, as we all know, that that’s just totally off limits.”
Reason # 3: Trump’s got Evers.
Trump’s opposition to the Common Core machine aren’t just words. Check out who Trump chose for an education advisor: Williamson “Bill” Evers.
Trump’s choice of ed guru Bill Evers speaks volumes to those who are opposed to Common Core. Evers, a scholar at Hoover Institute (Stanford University) has been influencing lawmakers, writing books, white papers, think tank documents, and columns; has served on panels and has published opinion editorials against Common Core for years. See more on Evers at: Breitbart, CSPAN, Stanford University, Utahns Against Common Core.
I had the honor of helping to transport Evers to a Stop Common Core speaking engagement in Salt Lake City a few years ago. I remember the leather satchel he carried, which overflowed with books– all titles about federalism and states’ rights.
Read his stuff. Again and again, Evers has explained that Common Core “has violated the traditions of open debate and citizen control that are supposed to undergird public schooling.” Evers could turn the whole Common Core machine around if he were permitted to serve as presidential advisor under Donald Trump.
Reason #4: Trump’s free from the NEA and AFT (abortion-promoting) national teachers unions, which fully endorse Hillary.
Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) back Hillary Clinton, and both financially uphold Planned Parenthood and other controversial groups and initiatives.
Even so, when Hillary presented her keynote speech at the recent National Education Association (NEA) conference, she was booed –why?
She spoke of cooperation between public charter schools and public schools. She’s not talking about sporting events or dances, folks. She wants all schools to be controlled by her public-private partner-shipping elite agenda.
Democratic-leaning NEA takes an anti-charter stand, but Hillary is aiming to play both sides with her private-public school initiatives. She knows that the Common Core machine is comprised of two machines, both of whom she needs: the corporate machine, comprised of Pearson, Microsoft/Gates, etc. (these make money starting charters and selling ed tech aligned to common standards) and the government machine (this gains control by using common data mining systems and common tests and teacher evaluations). This is what Hillary is speaking of when she speaks of her educational technology agenda, built on public-private partnerships).
Trump doesn’t need Gates’, Pearson’s, the NEA’s, or the AFT’s funds, and he’s not bound to their political standards. Hillary, though, is bound; Bill Gates, her Foundation’s top $25 Million+ donor, remember, is also the leading promoter of Common Core Education and Data Mining. He was almost her vice presidential pick. Hillary’s not about to get rid of Gates’ precious baby, the Common Core.
Reason #5: Trump’s not about Hillary’s 1998 Marc Tucker successful conspiracy against local control.
The infamous Tucker-Hillary letter, a detailed plot outlining how Hillary and Tucker planned to turn America into a socialistic machine using national school standards and “large scale data management systems” (school-work data) is part of the Congressional Record from 1998. You can read the PDF files of each page of Marc Tucker’s “Dear Hillary” letter in the 1998 Congressional Record through these links: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
Hillary and Tucker are still working hard to implement their plot, nearly twenty years later. Tucker‘s at NCEE, where his reports still spout sickening ideas such as: “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control“. Meanwhile, Hillary’s whole “Initiative on Technology and Innovation” is a detailed, updated extension of their 1998 conspiracy letter against local control.
Will Americans be smart enough to decipher her witchery of wordplay to see her plan for what it really is?
Reason #6: Life Itself
Hillary has a commitment to increase the number of abortion deaths in this country, and she’s coming for your guns. Trump will uphold rights for gun ownership and is against the killing of babies.
Whose vision keeps children safe? How will voting third-party bless children?
If you want your home –or local school– to have defenders– gun-owning teachers and principals— and if you believe as our founders did, that self-defense and gun ownership are vital American values, vote for Trump.
If you want to be disarmed and at the mercy of an unaccountable government, and if you are comfortable with the murder of babies, then vote for a third party candidate, or Hillary. It is the same.
A final note:
Many of my constitution-loving friends are voting for Castle (or McMullin) and tell me that Trump is only slightly, if at all, better than Hillary, and say that voting for either Trump or Hillary is condoning evil and will thus draw the displeasure of God.
I beg to differ.
God holds us accountable for the world we allow to come upon our children by our votes– far more so, I imagine, than He weighs our dream vote or “statement” vote which we might cast for a candidate who will never be elected to stand against our actual enemy.
Is just “what’s in our hearts” what matters here– or is what matters the real vote, a vote for actual power, that affects actual lives, and actual deaths?
Trump’s commitment to the American dream’s basic foundation: religious liberty, self-defense/gun rights, educational liberty, the right to life, and freedom from governmental micromanagement, are unarguably, eternally significant differences between these, the only two candidates who are within hope of winning this presidential election.
Will not the consequences of voting for Hillary (or third party)– thus enabling the loss of the basic American rights outlined above– draw greater grief and displeasure from God?
I believe so.
Please vote Trump.