Archive for the ‘How the Common Core Initiative Hurts Kids, Teachers, and Taxpayers’ Category

“User Profiling” by Department of Ed #StopSETRA   3 comments

stealth assessment baby

Buried deep in a 2012 report on “Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics,” the US Department of Education states that one of the key applications of educational data mining is “user profiling” (page 25).

The paragraph says:  “These application areas are (1) modeling of user knowledge, user behavior, and user experience; (2) user profiling; (3) modeling of key concepts in a domain and modeling a domain’s knowledge components, (4) and trend analysis.”

Later on, in Exhibit 1, we see a flow chart.  It shows “student learning data” flowing into the “predictive model,” the “intervention engine” and then into the “adaptation engine.”  Clearly, the goal  is government-directed behavior modification following student psychological profiling.

This is sad, because “users” now include even babies, since the Department of Education has successfully pushed ESSA into law, with its “early childhood education” programs that are included in the citizen data mining venture.

The Educational Data Mining report of 2012 is not the only such report from the U.S. Department of Education. Related is its 2013 report, “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance” which contained more of the same psychological data gathering goals.

The “Promoting Grit” report included pictures of biometric sensory devices: pressure mouse sensors, posture analysis seats, facial expression cameras, and wireless skin conductance sensors, which would mine student psychological elements, including “grit,” “tenacity,” “perseverance” and more.

 

grit

In SETRA (the Strengthening Education Through Research Act, currently in the US House of Representatives, having somehow passed the Senate) we find that the federal research programs will be strengthened and enlarged so that more data, including “social and emotional learning” will be gathered for federal use.

Philosophical and constitutional questions need to be hotly debated by the House of Representatives.  More importantly, these need discussion at the dinner table, by moms and dads and teachers and principals and school board members:

  • Will American children grow up free– as self-governing, free agents, with intellectual and moral privacy and the accompanying power to soar outside any box, as well as the power to fail?  How, if even their thoughts and beliefs are monitored and subjected to “intervention”?

 

  • Do Americans want students to be profiled, centrally managed, and nudged in a predetermined, government-and-workforce approved direction –constantly monitored and told what to do?  If so, what qualifies central planners to trump individuals’ and families’ desires?

 

  • Does widespread societal faith in “experts” relegate personal privacy and real autonomy to historical artifact?  Should personal data be studied and behavior “intervened” by unsupervised central planners? Will this really keep us “safe,” as cogs in a centrally managed, economy-focused collective?  Do we want to be a government-branded herd, or free, individual, human beings?

Here come the practical questions for how all this profiling may pan out.

  • If we allow government to keep psychological profiles (not just on students– since the P-20 Workforce Pipeline  means preschool through workforce citizens get tagged) –then, what happens if a thirty year-old wants to buy a gun, and his background check comes back negatively because when he was in 5th grade, his data was interpreted to mean future depressed individual?  And what if his 5th grade data was incorrect?
  • What if “at-risk academically” is redefined and applied to a student for attending a private, religious, or home school?
  • What if “mentally unstable” is applied to anyone who does not agree with what is being taught in school?
  • What if “socially deviant” is applied to anyone who disagrees, or is bored with, collectivist groupthink and group work?  –The “what if” list could be endless.

We don’t want to see any “what if”s come to pass.  We can put proper protections in place.  Legislators, write bills and voters, actively push to get them passed –laws that will deny researchers, school systems and governments access to psychologically profiling, via tests, curricula, and standards without informed, written consent.

The fact that “profiling’s already here” is no excuse.  We can begin where we are, and take a stand today. It is true that our students are already being psychologically profiled, to some degree, by the government and schools, already: look at the math standard for Common Core that requires a student to be tagged for presence or absence of “perseverance”. That’s not about math; that’s about psychology and character.

The perseverance tag and others like it will certainly be on the SAGE (Common Core, CEDS aligned) tests; notably in Utah and Florida, which use tests created and scored by the behavioral research company AIR (American Institutes for Research).

For additional evidence of current psychological profiling, look at Utah’s “Student Strengths Inventory,” which gathers nonacademic data on high schoolers.

But none of that is any excuse.

If rain is leaking through a hole in the kitchen, that does not mean we can innocently stand by while someone pokes holes in our living room roof and the bedroom ceiling, and makes plans for the removal of the roof.

The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, said that if men were angels, no government would be necessary.  To that I add, if governments and corporations were angels, no privacy protections would be necessary; student data would be consensually collected, analyzed, and used to bless the lives and enlarge the opportunities of every student.  But men, governments, and corporations are not angels.  That’s why We, the People, need to stop invasive bills like federal SETRA; it’s why we need to write and pass good, protective laws locally.

Take action today.

Write a letter. Make a phone call. Meet with a legislator. Pray with great faith; miracles of knowledge and understanding and miracles within political workings are needed, to awaken an asleep populace and to build up protections for our children’s minds, hearts, and freedoms.

 

Inspiration From Houston’s #AboutTheChild Conference   Leave a comment

At the #AboutTheChild conference in Houston last week, B&L Network speakers said that even in the middle of a struggle we might seem to be losing, we have great power and great hope.

Although America is seeing dangerous shifts in who can and who cannot amend tests, in who controls (and does not protect) children’s data;  in who gets to redefine even babies’ “educations” as a collective-economy-purposed thing; while we see corporate and federal “central planners” ram initiatives without a vote to assume “stakeholder” rights over our little ones– even in this awful situation, we can defend children’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happy education; that is, time-tested, soul-enlarging, non-Common Core education.

I cannot do the conference justice briefly, yet I want to try. A few moments that stood out came from these speeches:

Troy

 

1          Troy Towns, an Alabama minister and political activist, spoke about the numbers of people who should be actively involved in the fight against Common Core and other false reforms.  He retold the story of Gideon in the Old Testament.  Not only did it not bother the Lord that Gideon was vastly outnumbered; the Lord told Gideon to reduce his numbers, by sending away all warriors who were fearful.  Then the Lord instructed Gideon further, to send away all those who were not alert to the enemy while drinking at the stream.  Reduced to 300 people, surrounded by countless armies, the Lord then led Gideon’s group to victory…  It’s not about numbers.  It’s not about who appears to be winning in the moment.  It is about who is on the side of true and honorable principles.

 

daisy

 

2.         Daisy Whisenant, Texas advisor in the Christian Educators Association International, a Christian teacher’s union,  implored listeners to let teachers and students know the truth about “separation between Church and State”.  That idea is designed to prevent governments from promoting one religion above another, while upholding all religions’ freedom of speech.  It is not designed to shut down religious discussions.  A teacher is a government employee, but a child is not.  Nongovernmental citizens (students of all ages) may speak and write freely about their religious beliefs.   For more information, visit CEAI.

hoyt

 

3.      Jason Hoyt, Florida radio personality and author, discussed what “Consent of the Governed” means.  The concept is also the title of his book.  (Click here to find the book Consent of the Governed. )  I read it on my trip home. It teaches the history of local, state, and federal grand juries, and outlines the disintegration of that constitutional authority, which serves –or should serve– as a fourth branch and a check on the other three branches.  The book shows that if “We the People” reclaim proper controls of our grand juries, we can reclaim vital, lost political power –more effectively than if we rely only on elections as the means to enforce fair government.

Angelique

4.      Angelique Clark, a Las Vegas high school student, spoke about the stand she took and the fight that ensued as she founded a pro-life group for teen activists.  When her application for a high school pro-life club was denied, Angelique fought for her First Amendment rights inside a school, with a lawsuit to the school district that finally allowed her to form the pro-life club.  She won.  Her story has been seen on Fox & Friends, On the Record with Greta, Fox, Bill O’Reilly, and elsewhere.

karen

5.      Dr. Karen Effrem, a pediatrician, author and researcher, a leader of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition and of Education Liberty Watch, spoke about the amount of data being collected on every public school student in the nation without parental knowledge or consent; about the psychological and belief data-gathering goals outlined in the US Department of Education’s “Developing Grit, Tenacity and Persistance” Report; about the unfortunate, newly passed, Every Student Succeeds Act; and about the monster on the horizon, the “Strengthening Education Through Research Act“.  Her presentation should be seen by every member of the U.S. Congress.

peg

6.     Dr. Peg Luksik, a former reform evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education, a lifelong teacher, speaker, and honoree by multiple U.S. Presidents, spoke about the idea of common standards.  She asked the audience if there was such a thing as good standards, and answered her question:  no.  There is no such thing as a good set of standards because every child is so different.  She has a child who is a math genius, who cannot do ballet.  She has a daughter who is a ballet genius, who cannot do math.  She asked:  where would the proper, common standard be for those two children?  The idea of top-down decision making for teachers and students is ridiculous.  She said that years ago, “Outcome Based Education” was pushed on the nation, and was defeated by a handful of level-headed patriots.  Common Core and its related initiatives are the same thing, repackaged.  Those who would be central planners of all children’s lives must be defeated again.

duke

7.      Dr. Duke Pesta, an energetic literature professor and administrator at Freedom Project Academy, spoke about the devious history of the Common Core Initiative, up to its promoters’ most recent coup against liberty, the Every Student Succeeds Act.  He emphasized the words of Arne Duncan about the Every Student Succeeds Act, and pointed out that even trusted Republican leadership betrayed liberty with ESSA. We must be smarter and faster in overturning the deceptions of this fight.  (FYI, Utahns: rumor has it that Dr. Pesta will be speaking in Utah this April.)

neil

8.      Neil Mammen, a minister and activist at NoBlindFaith.com (author of 40 Days to a More Godly Nation and Jesus Is Involved in Politics: Why Aren’t You?) echoed the message given by Troy Towns (about Gideon and the numbers-of-warriors issue, above) as he spoke about the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V.  In the scene, when Westmoreland laments not having ten thousand more men to help them fight, the king responds:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.   (Read the whole speech.)

joan

9.     Joan Landes,  a Utah therapist, crystallized the issue when she said that the problem with government initiatives like Common Core and its web of tests and controls is that it hurts human relationships.  Her presentation about reversing Saul Alinsky’s evil tactics, and her idea of asking every concerned citizen to spend five minutes or five dollars as often as they can, were truly remarkable.

I spoke, too.  The heart of my speech, “Reclaiming Parental Power” came from a realization I had a few nights before the conference, as I thought about the awful situation that is U.S. Education Reform today.  As I wondered how we can keep going in the face of losing, losing, and losing (Common Core is still here; Common Education Standards and Longitudinal Databases are still here; the ESSA federal law makes things so much less free; and SETRA may soon make them even worse) –I had a clear thought:  HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH A MOM IN CHINA– or a mom in any socialist/communist nation, for that matter?  You would have no freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom to publish, freedom to work to repeal bad laws.  You hardly have freedom to think, in China.  A lover of freedom living in China, loving her children, would give her arms or legs to have the opportunity to face the problems that we face.  Arms and legs.

The glass will always be half full– never half empty–  as long as there is a person left in America who remembers the words and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.

Freedom is always worth the fight.

Children will always be the reason.

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This blog post is a partial, inadequate sampling that has not included many additional, wonderful  speakers at the conference.  Every speaker (see biographies and speaker list here) –was moving.

If you missed the conference and the livestream, you can still watch it as part of a package deal with B&L*  Network by purchasing a B&L year membership here.  I’m advertising it because:

The conference speakers were an inspiration, and their words need to be heard far and wide, as do the messages from United States Parents In Education (USPIE) which held a press conference as part of this conference, rolling out a campaign to #StopFedEd.   Also, importantly, consider this: the conference organizer was Alabama homemaker and radio show host Diana Crews, who, with her sweet husband, a professional trucker, went into debt to make this conference happen.  If nobody  watches, she stays in debt.  This was her sacrifice because she believes in making this issue About The Child.  It’s not about the “global economy” or the “school to workforce pipeline” or about “human capital”.  It is about the child.

To support B&L, click here.

* (If you want to know what B & L stands for– and I asked, and was so glad I did– it’s Bears and Lord; as in, Mama & Papa Bears and their Lord).

 

 

 

How To Stand Up: UT Citizens Have Means to Influence Ed Policy   3 comments

ACTION FOR TODAY

WEBSITE LAUNCHED

Joan Landes of Utah has launched ActionforToday.Wordpress.Com, a site where you can spend five minutes or five dollars to make a difference.  If you become aware of a pressing need that could use some grassroots awareness, post it in the comments section and the site administrator will read and  post it.

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2016 UACC BILL TRACKER

LAUNCHED

The Utah legislature meets for its yearly session now.  The session is only a few weeks long.  Bills will pass or not pass, right now.

On the Utahns Against Common Core (UACC) website, there is now a bill tracker built in.  UACC is asking you, your neighbor, your teacher friends, your grandparents– anyone who cares about saving local control and liberty and high quality, honorable education –to please help review and file education bill reports so we can see at a glance which bills are a problem. You will be helping legislators, who cannot possibly analyze the number of bills that they are asked to analyze in the time given.

Oak Norton, UACC email director, has sent out emails about it. If you’re not on the email list, go to the UACC site and sign the petition.  You will then receive all future e-mailings.
Sign up for a bill here: https://docs.google.com/…/1h_eB3A9Ghqfa6-sdEwjRGSkaLb…/edit…

Read it and then report on it here: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/20…/file-bill-report/

See bill summaries here: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/2016…/bill-summaries/

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US PARENTS INVOLVED IN EDUCATION (USPIE)

LAUNCHED

In a series of press  conferences held this week in various states, US Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) launched its campaign to stop federal intrusion into local education, and launched a membership drive for parents to join, as well as a pledge for legislators to sign, if they stand for true local control of education, as well.

Please join with those across the nation who realize that it’s time to reassert authority over education, over privacy rights, over testing and curriculum; and over stewardship of children by their own families.

Utah and Oklahoma Moms Chat About Data Mining Children Without Our Consent   1 comment

 

Moms Alyson Williams, Jenni White, Alisa Ellis and Christel Swasey, of Utah and Oklahoma, chat in a Google Hangout about their concerns and experiences with government data mining children without parental consent.

Good News: Resolution to #StopFedEd Passed at Utah County GOP Central Committee Meeting   Leave a comment

th

 

A resolution to #StopFedEd passed today.

About 250 delegates agreed (while only 3 did not).  The vote  resolves to refuse federal education money and its mandates.

Thanks to the hundreds of delegates who voted for it today and thanks to the courageous Utah legislators who aim to build this resolution into law, as has been reported by Utahns Against Common Core.

The resolution, which Utah citizens may sign here, points out that the federal taxes Utah receives for education are only about 7% of what Utah spends on education. Why should Utah pay 93% of its own bill, and have no say (in what is our constitutional right and duty, to direct education locally) while the federal government pays only 7% but mandates 100% of Utah’s education decisions?

Furthermore, the bill notes, and documents: Utah clearly has enough money to pay our own educational bills and can easily become free of the federal money and its obligations.  The resolution also points out that the time to act is now, because the brand new federal law ESSA does harm to family and private school autonomy.

There’s no reason to continue to be strangled by the increasing federal grasp over our children and countless reasons to be free.

Here’s the resolution, which, very likely, may evolve quickly into a Utah bill and into Utah law:

 

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Resolution to Remove Utah From Federal Education Control

WHEREAS, After decades of growing federal intrusion into our state education system, President Obama has signed into law The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which gives the federal government even more sweeping power over state education (1), regulates education in private schools (2) and implements policies and programs reaching into the home (3); and,

WHEREAS our platform states that “Parents have the right to choose whether a child is educated in private, public or home schools and government should not infringe on that right… We favor local accountability and control in all aspects of the education system.”; and,

WHEREAS federal taxpayers provide only 7.4% of our total education budget (4), but by accepting that 7.4% we give the federal government 100% control over the education of our children; and,

WHEREAS, the Governor has announced that Utah now has new ongoing revenue, due to state growth of $380 million (5), more than enough to replace federal funds and regain control over the education of our children; and,

WHEREAS, the only way to avoid the overbearing requirements of ESSA is to opt out of federal funds. (6)

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Utah County Republican Party declares that we cannot continue to stand by while our educational freedoms are usurped, and this increasing federal intrusion must end now; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT Utah should use its ongoing budget surplus to replace all federal taxpayer money in education, freeing Utah from federal intrusion; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT Utah County GOP leadership shall provide information on this issue to public officials and voters, as may be appropriate through email, website, and physical distribution, and request a legislative audit of federal programs put into place through the 2009 Stimulus Package including data systems (7), alignment to federal regulations, statues, and grants so that Utah schools can truly be freed from federal intrusion; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Utah County Republican Party commends Representatives Chaffetz, Bishop, Stewart, and Love, and Senator Lee, who voted against this invasive law, and we call upon all state legislators and officers to act now to stand for our state’s rights in education.

 

Oak Norton, Highland 7, Precinct Chair

 

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Footnotes

(1) Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s1177/BILLS-114s1177enr.pdf):
The secretary maintains control over state education plans (P4b, pg. 306)
The secretary shall ‘‘(vi) have the authority to disapprove a State plan.” (P4b, pg.21)

(2) ‘‘(B) OMBUDSMAN.—To help ensure such equity for such private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel, the State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements of this part.’’ (pg. 71)
https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s1177/BILLS-114s1177enr.pdf

(3) Dept. of HHS/USDOEd Draft Policy Implementation Statement on Family Engagement:
https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/draft_hhs_ed_family_engagement.pdf
“Implement[s] a vision for family engagement that begins prenatally and continues across settings and throughout a child’s developmental and educational experiences” (Page 5)
See “parenting interventions” (IBID pg. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16)
ESSA allows states to use funds to “support programs that reach parents and family members at home [and] in the community.” (https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s1177/BILLS-114s1177enr.pdf, Pg. 69)
States shall “become active participants in the development, implementation, and review of school-parent compacts, family engagement in education policies, and school planning and improvement;” (IBID, pg. 218)

Provides grants to turn elementary and secondary schools into “Full-Service Community Schools”  with “Pipeline Services” that provide “a continuum of coordinated supports, services, and opportunities for children from birth through… career attainment”, including family health services. (IBID pg. 222, 223, 229)

(4) http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Fingertip-Facts/2015.aspx
2013-14 is an inaccurate estimate. USOE’s document has a typo on gross revenue showing $1.3B more than expenses. This estimated revenue figure is in line with expenses which are assumed to be accurate as they are in line with the trend. We have 5 straight years of declining federal funds but no declining federal requirements. Unfunded mandates rule our state education system.

Utah Education Funding<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-3018″ src=”http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Utah-Education-Funding.png” alt=”Utah Education Funding” width=”804″ height=”318″ srcset=”http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Utah-Education-Funding-300×119.png 300w, http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Utah-Education-Funding-768×304.png 768w, http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Utah-Education-Funding.png 804w” sizes=”(max-width: 804px) 100vw, 804px” />(5) http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=20151207-1

(6) ESSA, SEC. 8530A. PROHIBITION ON REQUIRING STATE PARTICIPATION

(7) http://www.scribd.com/doc/283013828/Utah-State-Office-of-Education-circumventing-oversight-public-input-legislative-authority


Update: 1/20/16: After discussing the resolution with two legislators, the following amendment will be offered up to strengthen the resolution.

Amendment to Resolution (see link here for amendment.)

Supported by:

Senators Margaret Dayton, Al Jackson, David Hinkins

Representatives Brad Daw, Mike Kennedy, Jake Anderegg, Brian Greene, David Lifferth, Norm Thurston, Marc Roberts, Kay Christofferson

thFAG7RRYC

Federal Education Research System Poised to Invade – #StopSETRA   3 comments

stealth kid two

I know this might be boring.

I know there are five hundred things you could be doing.  But this will take awhile.

SETRA, or “Strengthening Education Through Research Act,” a federal bill that passed the U.S. Senate on December 17th has not yet passed the House of Representatives, and must not.

(Call 202-224-3121 to speak to your representative in Congress.)

There is a lot to explain about SETRA, and I won’t even hit it all tonight.

SETRA was written “to strengthen the federal education research system”.  That’s sentence number one.  It begs this question: where does the U.S. Constitution permit federal education or federal education research?

Is this communist China, where nationalized education is normal? Did I dream that the Constitution gives zero power to the federal government to dictate even a crumb about education?

Why are we even considering a bill that starts out with that sentence?  Furthermore, when did a single parent in this entire country give informed consent for a single child to be used as an unpaid, unwitting guinea pig for federal research?   How dare the government research the thoughts and beliefs of my child and yours, using our tax dollars, without our consent?

In section 132 of SETRA, the government aims to collect, from your child and mine, “research on social and emotional learning”.  –How so?  Sensitive surveys are forbidden by PPRA, right?

Education Liberty Watch notes that PPRA (a federal law that is supposed to prohibit  collection of psychological, sexual, or religious mindsets) only applies to student surveys– not to curriculum!  It’s a loophole.  Check out Cornell law school’s information on PPRA.

So what SETRA aims to do, in gathering sensitive “social and emotional” data, it can do, because of that loophold.  SETRA’s aims are not prohibited.  The data miners simply have to hide their psychological stalking inside the curriculum.  And this is easier and more common than most of us realize.

 

stealth assessment baby

Psychological or belief data can be mined without openly labeling the effort a psychological, religious, or emotional survey– and even without the knowledge of teachers or school administrators.  For example:

Education Liberty Watch points out that an English Language Arts curriculum that is being used in over 40 Florida school districts and several California districts, a curriculum published by the College Board, called SpringBoard, contains many psychosocial, or belief-based, questions such as this:

Activity 4.9 Justice and Moral Reasoning

I should pay all my taxes because-

  • I could go to jail if I do not
  • people will think of me as a good citizen
  • my taxes along with those of others will help to pay for services used by all

Students are then made to rate themselves, based on having mostly “a” or “b” or “c” responses, as “pre-conventional,” “conventional” or “post-conventional” based on psychological, moral levels and stages of reasoning. This is a psychological test, yet parents are not given notice nor asked for their consent.

Even math tests can contain psychological tests.  They gather information about student “perseverance,” “grit,” and other nonacademic “competencies”.  In fact, perseverance is one of the nonacademic standards tracked by Common Core math.

It’s not a bad idea to teach math students to persevere.  It is immoral, though, to pretend that a math test is testing only math, when it is also testing the psychological attribute of perseverance or another nonacademic attribute or belief– without the informed consent of a parent.

And if politicians and corporate giants get their way, it won’t be possible for a student or parent to avoid this type of psychological data mining by opting out of the high stakes tests, because stealth testing is here to take high-stakes testing’s place.

Did you notice how the parent-and-teacher-generated, national opt-out-of-testing movement has been hijacked by top level politicians  siphoning the grassroots’ energy toward the newest ed reform: “integration of testing into an aligned curriculum,” or “embedded testing” to replace the big-assessment tradition?  This is also known as “stealth assessment“.

Hiding the test from the student (and from the teacher and from the parent) by embedding it in the curriculum does solve many of the problems of high-pressure testing.  But it makes the problem of nonconsensual data mining worse.  And it would make opting out of the governmental inventorying of human beings impossible.  Thanks to “integration of testing into an aligned curriculum, the aims of SERTA can still mine your student’s data– with or without high-stakes testing.

Some people still don’t believe that federal and state governments really aim to gather data about the mind, heart and soul of each child.  In the bureaucrats’ own words, read it.

The Department of Education wrote that 21st century “competencies” would include “noncognitive” (nonacademic) factors. Read that report, entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance,” if you can find it; recently, the White House has removed its prior link to the published report.

OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13

Similar language about schools needing to gather belief-based, or social/emotional data, is found in countless other places.

See, for example, Utah’s own 2009 federal SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System) grant application language, which promised the state would gather noncognitive student data from Utah’s children, about “resiliency” and “social comfort and integration” via “psychometric census.”  (Utah did “win” that federal grant, twice, and so we do have the federally designed SLDS system, as does every single United State.)

There is no informed consent, and there is currently no opting out, of SLDS.)

Ask your congressman:  where is the language in SERTA that would prohibit state SLDS systems from feeding personally identifiable information to the federal agencies?

Where is the language in SERTA that would penalize governmental and private entities who shared or sold student information?

Where is the prohibition on sharing personal student information with international entities, such as PISA, TIMSS, or SIF?

Where are the enforcement remedies when student information is mishandled?

Where is any actual prohibition on a national database, while SERTA encourages states to share and feed out data, ironically calling it “voluntary” sharing –though neither students nor parents ever gave consent to gather or use SLDS-nested information?

There’s more that really needs to be pointed out about SERTA.

 Nonduplication?

The thrifty seeming concept of nonduplication, or not overlapping and wasting energy, is used falsely, repeatedly, in SERTA, to justify the data grab.

The idea that database meshing is needful “in order to reduce burden and cost” (page 4) is supposedly justified so that the federal Secretary of Education shall “use information and data that are available from existing federal, state and local sources”.   On page 12, it extends the database meshing to private entities, too:  “such research and activities carried out by public and private entities to avoid duplicative or overlapping efforts”.  Where are the rights of the people being data-mined?

Will state, local, and private sources just idiotically hand this student data over to the federal agencies, buying the absurd notion that privacy rights pale in comparison to the opportunity of unburdening the federal workday or bank account?

                   Not Just Children’s Data; Adults’ Data, Too?

It is discouraging to note that SERTA strikes the “children” from the previous bill to replace it with the word “students,” repeatedly (page 77, page 117).  This replacement may broaden the reach of the data mining capability of the federal system to include not only children in public schools, but anyone in any environment that can be called a learning environment– I’m guessing: workplaces, libraries, universities, public housing facilities, rehabilitation facilities, hospital learning centers, refugee camps?  Adults are repeatedly mentioned in SERTA, in addition to being included in the more generic term “students.” And SERTA says that “adult education” and “adult education and literacy activities” are used as they are defined in section 203 of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, which is part of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.  The federal link to that bill is currently broken, so I have not read that definition yet. But I think it’s safe to say that SERTA is not just about “improving research” for kids.  It feels as if it’s all about Big Brothering every single citizen.

 

nanny

 

               Cementing the SLDS (de facto federal) Database Systems?

In fact, on page 109, SERTA mandates that a year after it passes, and every three years thereafter, the federal Secretary of Education will prepare a report about each state’s “progress” and “use of statewide longitudinal data systems”.

Fact:  SLDS databases were paid for by federal monies and were designed to federal specifications.

Fact:  SLDS databases are, by federal mandate, designed with interoperability frameworks that mean they create one big, connect-able database of fifty matching state databases.  Utah’s grant application reveals, “the current School Interoperability Framework (SIF) v2 standard fulfills the needs of LEA to LEA, LEA to postsecondary, LEA to USOE, and USOE to EDFacts data exchanges.”  In plain talk, that means that schools, universities, the state office of education, and the federal EDFacts data exchange use the same interoperabilities so they can share any data that their policies will allow them to share.  These groups will say that “it’s just grouped data, not personally identifiable, that is shared.” But the personally identifiable data is housed and CAN be shared, if and when policy allows.  Proper protections are not in place.  Even federal FERPA privacy laws, upon which SERTA relies, and which SERTA mentions –was shredded by the Dept. of Education in the same year or two that it pushed Common Core tests, common SLDS systems, and Common Core Standards, on all the states.  FERPA no longer requires parental consent for the sharing of personal student data.  That’s a “best practice,” now, and not a requirement, and government failing to get any consent carries no punishment.

Yet SERTA relies on FERPA each time it (repeatedly) says something like “adhering to federal privacy laws and protections” (for example, see page 111).

When SERTA says potentially reassuring things, such as the idea that “cooperative education statistics partnerships” are not to be confused with a national database system (page 44) or that “no student data shall be collected by the partnerships… nor shall such partnerships establish a national student data system,” I do roll my eyes.

National student data systems are ready to plug in, like fifty separate puzzle pieces in a fifty piece puzzle; there are fifty SLDS systems– one per state.  So the federal plan has already been established with state SLDS databases.  The hole is dug; the concrete is poured.  Now, with SETRA, they are asking for a permit to build.  Congress can say no!

They must. Privacy matters.  It is a basic freedom.

Do not believe the people who say that it does not matter, or that it’s already gone– because of Facebook or NSA or Social Security numbers being used as national I.D.s.  It’s not yet true.  Privacy is still far from “all gone,” and it is worth fighting for!

The autonomy of your child, free from Big Brother  in his or her future, is worth fighting for.

Remember the Declaration of Independence. It says that governments derive their just powers from the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. 

Without consent, government actions are unjust.  The SLDS systems are nonconsensual systems.

They came via federal bribe, aka federal grant when unelected, unthinking, nonrepresentative bureaucrats in each state office of education applied for the federal money in exchange for the federally designed and nationally interoperable SLDS systems; no citizen nor representative voted.

These monstrous State Longitudinal Database Systems use schools and other entities to create even huge “data alliances;” this is the basis for SERTA’s potentially frightening, increased powers.  Any language in SERTA implying that there is no plan for any national database is deception.

Don’t give the feds the authority to build that glary-eyed, Big Brother skyscraper on top of us, just because they already dug a foundation and poured concrete under us while we weren’t all paying attention.

#StopSETRA.  #StopSLDS.

 

const

#StopSetra: Child Data Mining Bill in US House of Representatives: Family Privacy and Autonomy Matters   2 comments

crying stopesea

 

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.

They:

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.

dunc

(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…”)

 

3) In the dark, without debate, and if possible, without a recorded vote (so that voters won’t know which representative voted for it) —  they just pass it.

Remember Senator Lee’s words last month, days before ESSA passed:

mike lee

“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.

#StopSetra.

stealth assessment baby

 

Here is a link to the bill: http://edworkforce.house.gov/educationresearch/

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