Archive for the ‘Parents’ Rights’ Category

Local School Board Members Rejecting Obama’s Transgender Agenda   37 comments

Update for locals:  tonight, Alpine School District will be having a meeting; that’s May 17 at 6 p.m., to discuss the transgender bathroom issue and how it will affect your child. If you have anything to say or if you just want to know what’s happening locally due to Obama’s crazy new policy to let boys into girl’s locker rooms, bathrooms and showers, you might want to show up:  

ASD District Office  575 N 100 E, American Fork, Utah 84003


Brian Halladay, Wendy Hart and Paula Hill, three members on the board of Utah’s largest school district, Alpine District, have written an open letter to the Utah legislature, governor, and state school board. It is posted here in full.

 

 

May 15, 2016

This letter is to urge you, as the Governor, Legislature, and State School Board to reject the guidance dictating actions regarding transgender students dated May 13, 2016.

The guidance in this letter states:

  1. “School staff and contractors will use pronouns and names consistent with a transgender student’s gender identity.”
  2.  “When a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

a.  “A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.”

b. “School must allow transgender students to access housing consistent with their gender identity and may not require transgender students to stay in single-occupancy accommodations or to disclose personal information when not required of other students.”

This guidance would allow a boy that identifies as a girl to be allowed to use facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms and showers with girls.  This is  not just a complete violation of privacy, but is morally reprehensible.  The consequences of this social experiment would be disastrous, not only as an invasion of the rights of a majority, but also with the potential legal liability this could incur upon school districts and the state, if we were to adopt this egregious guidance.

Article X of the US Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The federal government has no power to tell people what to do except in areas specifically authorized in the Constitution.

That means it has no right to invade our privacy, or to dictate that transgender students have access to facilities that would invade the privacy of other children.

The Department of Education has threatened that it may pull education funding from our State if we don’t comply.  This is likely a baseless threat meant to force states into compliance.  However, with only 8% of State funds coming from the federal government, this would be an ideal opportunity to declare Utah’s sovereignty, and to allow our children to be free from the tyrannical mandates of our federal government.

This level of federal overreach is as unprecedented  as it is unconstitutional.  As locally-elected board members, we will be voting for a budget next month that includes no federal funding at all.  While we realize we will have to tighten our belts and reallocate funds to accomodate those necesssary programs, the safety and privacy of the students we were elected to serve outweighs the 6% that our district receives in federal funds.  We would appreciate your support in this endeavor.

I urge you, as Utah’s representatives, to also push back against this guidance, protect the privacy of our children and move forward in making Utah the shining city on a hill.

 

Sincerely,

Brian Halladay, Alpine School District Board Member

Wendy Hart, Alpine School District Board Member

Paula Hill, Alpine School District Board Member

 

Brian Halladay (pictured) is running against Mark Clement for the precinct 4 seat on the Alpine school board. Courtesy photo

wendypaula

Obama, Keep Your 30 Pieces of Silver: No One Trumps My Child’s Bathroom Privacy   3 comments

In the moment when the home invader is at the door, yelling that he will break in and rearrange everyone and everything inside, do you panic and plead, hide, try to reason– or do you fight and defend your little ones?

I fight.

This week’s invasion of children’s bathrooms by would-be Dictator Obama is two things.

  1.  It is a precedent-setting blast to Constitutionally protected rights.  (He has no authority to do this.   We must call his bluff. )
  2. It is a foundational step to tragic sexual abuses and crimes which will take place in children’s and college students’ bathrooms because it’s founded on twisted logic: that  a minority’s desires (not rights, but desires) should trump both the rights and desires of the majority.  It’s absurd and dangerous.

Obama –and the whole world– must know that American people stand up and fight for our little ones.

We are not cowards.  We are not slaves to federal refunding of our tax dollars.  Obama’s planning to withhold funding unless we all cower to his rewrite of what gender and proper values should mean in public bathrooms.   Don’t swallow his incorrect definition.

For the record, here’s the best definition I have ever read.

Yesterday, Friday, May 13th, a letter was issued to all schools from the Departments of Justice and Education threatening to withhold federal funding from any school that fails to make accommodations for gender identity and transgenderism.

The letter calls compliance a “legal obligation” and states, “As a condition of receiving Federal funds . . a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity . . even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community member raise objections or concerns.”

The letter then goes into specifics about restrooms, locker rooms, athletics, housing, etc. mandating that, “A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities . . ”

Here is Utah’s Governor Herbert’s response:

“Today’s action by President Obama is one of the most egregious examples of federal overreach I have ever witnessed. Schools are the domain of state and local government, not our nation’s president. Unfortunately, this is exactly what I have come to expect from the Obama administration. If we have to fight this order, we will not hesitate to do so.”

Knowing that this letter on Transgender Students went out to schools, transgender students could force the issue on Monday.  Schools need to know that they can and must say “NO.”

We need the Utah State School Board to communicate that message to all the schools in Utah.  Then, we need the state legislature to address the problem in special session this week.

THE SCHOOL BOARD NEEDS TO HEAR FROM US TODAY, BEFORE THEY SEND A CLARIFICATION LETTER TO SCHOOLS.

Please, please, act.

Below are Utah contacts who need to hear from courageous and moral voices.

THE GOVERNOR AND THE STATE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO HEAR FROM US TODAY BECAUSE THE DEADLINE FOR MAKING IT AN ISSUE FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION IS MONDAY.

Please, please act.

CHECK LIST:

1) CONTACT State School Board members to ask them to reject the edicts in the letter and support Utah schools in adopting policies which protect our children from being forced to co-mingle in bathrooms and showers;
2) CONTACT Governor Herbert to ask him to make this issue a matter for the Special Legislative Session this Wednesday, May 18th;
3) CONTACT State Legislators to ask them to support adding this issue to the special sessionn and to pass legislation that will protect our children AND their schools.
4) SPREAD THE WORD.   The societal shift that the Obama administration is proposing would be viewed as abhorrent to all generations before us and to moral people worldwide.  Now we are supposed to make it the norm for children across America?  Everyone who loves children and wants to protect them will care about this issue.  Tell them, so they can help guard our children’s innocence and moral privacy.

Send this on to family, friends, groups. Please use email, texting, social media, etc.

IS THIS AN EMERGENCY? . . . YES!!!! Please drop everything and make time for this today.  There is no time for cowardice.

State Board of Education Contacts:

District 1 – Terryl Warner . . . 435.512.5241
District 2 – Spencer Stokes . . . 801.923.4908
District 3 – Linda Hansen . . . 801.966.5492
District 4 – David Thomas . . . 801-479-7479
District 5 – Laura Belnap . . . 801.699.7588
District 6 – Brittney Cummins . . . 801.969.5712
District 7 – Leslie Castle . . . 801.581.9752
District 8 – Jennifer Johnson . . . 801.742.1616
District 9 – Joel Wright . . . 801.426.2120
District 10 – David Crandall . . . 801.232.0795
District 11 – Jefferson Moss . . . 801.916.7386
District 12 – Dixie Allen . . . 435.789.0534
District 13 – Stan Lockhart . . . 801.368.2166
District 14 – Mark Huntsman . . . 435.979.4301
District 15 – Barbara Corry . . . 435.586.3050

Terryl.Warner6@gmail.com
utahboard2@gmail.com
linda.hansen@schools.utah.gov
dthomas@summitcounty.org
lbelnap@utahonline.org
b4cummins@gmail.com
lesliebrookscastle@gmail.com
jj@jenniferajohnson.com
joel.wright.uted@gmail.com
crandall@xmission.com
jeffersonRmoss@gmail.com
dixieleeallen@gmail.com
stanlockhartutah@gmail.com
mhuntsman@sunrise-eng.com
Barbara.corry@schools.utah.gov

REMEMBER TO BLIND COPY.

Governor Gary Herbert:  801.538.1000

Utah State Legislature:

Rep. Scott Sandall . . . 435-279-7551
Rep. David Lifferth . . . 801-358-9124
Rep. Jack Draxler . . . 435-752-1488
Rep. Edward Redd . . . 435-760-3177
Rep. Curt Webb . . . 435-753-0215
Rep. Jacob Anderegg . . . 801-901-3580
Rep. Justin Fawson . . . 801-781-0016
Rep. Gage Froerer . . . 801-391-4233
Rep. Jeremy Peterson . . . 801-390-1480
Rep. Dixon Pitcher . . . 801-710-9150
Rep. Brad Dee . . . 801-479-5495
Rep. Mike Schultz . . . 801-859-7713
Rep. Paul Ray . . . 801-725-2719
Rep. Curt Oda . . . 801-725-0277
Rep. Brad Wilson . . . 801-425-1028
Rep. Stephen Handy . . . 801-979-8711
Rep. Stewart Barlow . . . 801-289-6699
Rep. Timothy Hawkes . . . 801-294-4494
Rep. Raymond Ward . . . 801-440-8765
Rep. Becky Edwards . . . 801-554-1968
Rep. Douglas Sagers . . . 435-830-3485
Rep. Susan Duckworth . . . 801-250-0728
Rep. Sandra Hollins . . . 801-363-4257
Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck . . . 801-891-9292
Rep. Joel Briscoe . . . 801-946-9791
Rep. Angela Romero . . . 801-722-4972
Rep. Michael Kennedy . . . 801-358-2362
Rep. Brian King . . . 801-560-0769
Rep. Lee Perry . . . 435-225-0430
Rep. Fred Cox . . . 801-966-2636
Rep. Sophia DiCaro . . .
Rep. LaVar Christensen . . . 801-808-5105
Rep. Craig Hall . . . 801-573-1774
Rep. Johnny Anderson . . . 801-898-1168
Rep. Mark Wheatley . . . 801-556-4862
Rep. Patrice Arent . . . 801-889-7849
Rep. Carol Moss . . . 801-647-8764
Rep. Eric Hutchings . . . 801-963-2639
Rep. Jim Dunnigan . . . 801-840-1800
Rep. Lynn Hemingway . . . 801-231-2153
Rep. Daniel McCay . . . 801-810-4110
Rep. Kim Coleman . . . 801-865-8970
Rep. Earl Tanner . . . 801-792-2156
Rep. Bruce Cutler . . . 801-556-4600
Rep. Steve Eliason . . . 801-673-4748
Rep. Marie Poulson . . . 801-942-5390
Rep. Ken Ivory . . . 801-694-8380
Rep. Keven Statton . . . 801-836-6010
Rep. Robert Spendlove . . . 801-560-5394
Rep. Rich Cunningham . . . 801-722-4942
Rep. Greg Hughes . . . 801-432-0362
Rep. John Knotwell . . . 801-449-1834
Rep. Mel Brown . . . 435-647-6512
Rep. Kraig Powell . . . 435-65-0501
Rep. Scott Chew . . . 435-630-0221
Rep. Kay Christofferson . . . 801-592-5709
Rep. Brian Greene . . . 801-358-1338
Rep. Derrin Owens . . . 435-851-1284
Rep. Val Peterson . . . 801-224-4473
Rep. Brad Daw . . . 801-850-3608
Rep. Keith Grover . . . 801-319-0170
Rep. Jon Stanard . . . 435-414-4631
Rep. Dean Sanpei . . . 801-979-5711
Rep. Norman Thurston . . . 385-399-9658
Rep. Francis Gibson . . . 801-491-3763
Rep. Mike McKell . . . 801-210-1495
Rep. Marc Roberts . . . 801-210-0155
Rep. Merrill Nelson . . . 801-971-2172
Rep. Brad King . . . 435-637-7955
Rep. Kay McIff . . . 801-608-4331
Rep. Brad Last . . . 435-635-7334
Rep. John Westwood . . . 435-590-1467
Rep. Mike Noel . . . 435-616-5603
Rep. Lowry Snow . . . 435-703-3688
Rep. Don Ipson . . . 435-817-5281
Sen. Luz Escamilla . . . 801-550-6434
Sen. Jim Dabakis . . . 801-815-3533
Sen. Gene Davis . . . 801-647-8924
Sen. Jani Iwamoto . . . 801-580-8414
Sen. Karen Mayne . . . 801-232-6648
Sen. Wayne Harper . . . 801-566-5466
Sen. Deidre Henderson . . . 801-787-6197
Sen. Brian Shiozawa . . . 801-889-7450
Sen. Wayne Niederhauser . . . 801-742-1606
Sen. Lincoln Fillmore . . . 385-831-8902
Sen. Howard Stephenson . . . 801-815-6800
Sen. Daniel Thatcher . . . 801-759-4746
Sen. Mark Madsen . . . 801-360-9389
Sen. Al Jackson . . . 801-216-4479
Sen. Margaret Dayton . . . 801-221-0623
Sen. Curt Bramble . . . 801-361-5802
Sen. Peter Knudson . . . 435-730-2026
Sen. Ann Millner . . . 801-900-3897
Sen. Allen Christensen . . . 801-782-5600
Sen. Scott Jenkins . . . 801-731-5120
Sen. Jerry Stevenson . . . 801-678-3147
Sen. Stuart Adams . . . 801-593-1776
Sen. Todd Weiler . . . 801-599-9823
Sen. Ralph Okerlund . . . 435-979-7077
Sen. Lyle Hillyard . . . 435-753-0043
Sen. Kevin VanTassell . . . 435-790-0675
Sen. David Hinkins . . . 435-384-5550
Sen. Evan Vickers . . . 435-817-5565
Sen. Stephen Urquhart . . . 435-668-7759

ssandall@le.utah.gov
dlifferth@le.utah.gov
jdraxler@le.utah.gov
eredd@le.utah.gov
curtwebb@le.utah.gov
janderegg@le.utah.gov
justinfawson@le.utah.gov
gfroerer@le.utah.gov
jeremyapeterson@le.utah.gov
dpitcher@le.utah.gov
bdee@le.utah.gov
mikeschultz@le.utah.gov
pray@le.utah.gov
coda@le.utah.gov
bradwilson@le.utah.gov
stevehandy@le.utah.gov
sbarlow@le.utah.gov
thawkes@le.utah.gov
rayward@le.utah.gov
beckyedwards@le.utah.gov
dougsagers@le.utah.gov
sduckworth@le.utah.gov
shollins@le.utah.gov
rchouck@le.utah.gov
jbriscoe@le.utah.gov
angelaromero@le.utah.gov
mikekennedy@le.utah.gov
briansking@le.utah.gov
leeperry@le.utah.gov
fredcox@le.utah.gov
sdicaro@le.utah.gov
lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov
chall@le.utah.gov
janderson34@le.utah.gov
markwheatley@le.utah.gov
parent@le.utah.gov
csmoss@le.utah.gov
ehutchings@le.utah.gov
jdunnigan@le.utah.gov
lhemingway@le.utah.gov
dmccay@le.utah.gov
kimcoleman@le.utah.gov
earltanner@le.utah.gov
brucecutler@le.utah.gov
seliason@le.utah.gov
mariepoulson@le.utah.gov
kivory@le.utah.gov
kstratton@le.utah.gov
rspendlove@le.utah.gov
rcunningham@le.utah.gov
greghughes@le.utah.gov
jknotwell@le.utah.gov
melbrown@le.utah.gov
kraigpowell@le.utah.gov
scottchew@le.utah.gov
kchristofferson@le.utah.gov
bgreene@le.utah.gov
derrinowens@le.utah.gov
vpeterson@le.utah.gov
bdaw@le.utah.gov
keithgrover@le.utah.gov
jstanard@le.utah.gov
dsanpei@le.utah.gov
normthurston@le.utah.gov
fgibson@le.utah.gov
mmckell@le.utah.gov
mroberts@le.utah.gov
mnelson@le.utah.gov
bradking@le.utah.gov
kaymciff@le.utah.gov
blast@le.utah.gov
jwestwood@le.utah.gov
mnoel@kanab.net
vlsnow@le.utah.gov
dipson@le.utah.gov
lescamilla@le.utah.gov
jdabakis@le.utah.gov
gdavis@le.utah.gov
jiwamoto@le.utah.gov
kmayne@le.utah.gov
wharper@le.utah.gov
dhenderson@le.utah.gov
bshiozawa@le.utah.gov
wniederhauser@le.utah.gov
lfillmore@le.utah.gov
hstephenson@le.utah.gov
dthatcher@le.utah.gov
mmadsen@le.utah.gov
abjackson@le.utah.gov
mdayton@le.utah.gov
curt@cbramble.com
pknudson@le.utah.gov
amillner@le.utah.gov
achristensen@le.utah.gov
sjenkins@le.utah.gov
jwstevenson@le.utah.gov
jsadams@le.utah.gov
tweiler@le.utah.gov
rokerlund@le.utah.gov
lhillyard@le.utah.gov
kvantassell@le.utah.gov
dhinkins@le.utah.gov
evickers@le.utah.gov
surquhart@le.utah.gov

 

What to say:

Utah is leading the way in the fight against pornography. We have declared it a public health hazard. Making girls shower with boys and vice versa is insanely counter-productive to that. Virtue and innocence must be protected at all costs.

No one should be forced to be part of something that violates time-tested  standards and values.
The Obama administration has no authority to blackmail school districts or mandate this type of policy.
Protecting our children is more important than federal funds, especially when they come with all kinds of strings attached.
This policy will cause an exodus from public schools to private schools and homeschool.
Withholding federal funds will hurt poor students since most of that money goes to programs for under-privileged children.

 

Dan-Patrick (1)

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick described the situation:

“. . it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public school. [Obama] has set a policy in place that will divide the country . . he says he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy . . he can keep his 30 pieces of silver, we will not yield to blackmail.”

 

Amen.

 

Miracles Do Happen: Governor and Chair of Common Core Organization (NGA) Rejects Common Core   6 comments

Govenor-Gary-Herbert-Utah

Governor Herbert surprised a lot of people this week, including me.

After spending the past six years promoting,  marketing, and providing workforce alignment strategies to serve Common Core, and after rising to the throne of Common Core’s organization, National Governors Association, to become its chair, and after going out of his way to have the Utah Attorney General provide “proof” that Common Core supposedly represented local control– after all of this,  Herbert has now turned his back on the Common Core and has written a letter to the State School Board, asking it to move away from Common Core.

The media in Utah say that they are “puzzled” and confused.  Not me.  I’m doing the happy dance!

 

happy dance dog

Regardless of the Governor’s motives in this election year, regardless of the possibility that Utah might just endure a wasteful rebranding effort that could redeliver Common Core under a new name (as many other states, have done and done and done) –I still see this letter from Governor Herbert as a home run for the freedom team.

Read it.  The letter admits that Common Core is not an example of local control, that it is the federal will, and that it damages local control –of testing, data collection, curriculum and instruction.

The letter asks the board to keep these principles in mind while it moves away from Common Core: 1) maintain high academic standards; 2) keep the federal government out of educational decisions in Utah; and 3) preserve local control of curriculum, testing, data collection and instruction.

It also says, “Just as important as the actual educational standards is the process by which we arrive at those standards.  This should be a Utah process with public comment and discourse.”  It continues, “…[W]e all understand the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all approach. It is imperative that any new standards are flexible enough to allow a wide variety of curricular decisions by individual school districts …I believe that our teachers need more freedom to be creative in the classroom.

Well, those words are a surprise, and a miracle, to me.

Some people are suspicious because the governor’s in the middle of his re-election campaign, while his challenger, has been extremely successful with voting delegates because of his staunchly anti-Common Core stand.  I was there when the governor got booed by a crowd over well over 1,000 delegates at the Utah County GOP Convention last month, when he spoke about Common Core; I know he is under campaign pressure, but he didn’t have to do this!   He knew it would make him look like a fair-weather politician. He knew that most of those who are already voting for the more-conservative Johnson won’t change their minds and that those who already support Herbert won’t likely change their minds.  So why did he really do it?

Maybe a key to why the governor wrote this letter is in its closing paragraph.  His own children and grandchildren do not like the Common Core. The letter says, “I have eleven grandchildren in Utah public schools. I have seen firsthand the frustration they and their parents have had…”

What grandfather can stand up to his own grandchildren’s lobbying efforts against the Common Core?  So he caved, in a good way.  He’s publically admitted that Common Core is academically miserable and politically for socialists.

I cannot see this letter as anything but great news.

So what’s next?  What will the Utah State School Board do?

I don’t think it can get away with yet another meaningless rebranding job. The now-somewhat-savvy Utah public won’t stand for that, knowing what so recently happened to Utah’s previously-good science standards, or knowing what happened when Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, Tennessee, Indiana, and other states passed Common Core repeal laws that resulted in nothing better, but common core 2.0 (under new names).  To the dismay of those who actually wanted freedom and autonomy beyond the federal 15% no-change alignment “suggestion”, better standards didn’t actually mean, better standards.  But we have the advantage of other states’ errors to learn from today.

The letter didn’t spell out every problem with education reform.  For example, it didn’t say, “Let’s finally permit parents to opt children out of the federal/state data data monitoring system SLDS“.

But I don’t see the federal SLDS (Utah’s federally-provided student data mining system, which came to Utah alongside Common Core) very much longer reading “long life and happiness” in its fortune cookie.  Why?  Too many Utahns are aware that common data standards and common academic standards were a package deal from day one.  Utah legislators recently passed bills that  took protective action on student data privacy– taking a stand against the opposition’s  national data-mining-and-monitoring movement.  The governor will not be able to sidestep SLDS, even if he wants to.   SLDS didn’t need to be in the letter because it’s on everyone’s mind.

freedom of speech

 

One of my happiest thoughts, after seeing this letter,  has been thinking about the countless Utah teachers and administrators who have previously not felt free to speak their minds about Common Core.  The governor’s letter, in many ways (and unintentionally, perhaps) helps to reclaim freedom of speech to Utah educators.  While educators opposed to Common Core have mostly remained quiet or anonymous, some of those who have not, have been bypassed, mistreated or branded as “insubordinate” for speaking out– for refusing to pretend to like Common Core –either academically or politically.  Some have even been pushed to resign.

But now, if even the reigning governor is saying he’s not happy about the Common Core –academically nor in terms of lost local control– then finally,  perhaps, any teacher or principal can pipe up, too.

So, this letter is very good news.

Thanks, Governor Herbert.

 

 

#STOPSETRA – Congress! Protect the Psychological Privacy of Children   1 comment

cry

 

Here’s a must-read, new article at Townhall.com (here) by Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins, “Why Does Your Congressman Want to Psychologically Profile Your Children?”

The article begins:

“If the GOP-led Congress had not done enough damage to public education by passing the statist Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it’s poised to make things even worse. The new threat is theStrengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA). If SETRA passes in its current form, the federal government will be empowered to expand psychological profiling of our children. Parents must understand this threat so they can mobilize to stop it.”

It also states:  “Section 132 of SETRA expands authorized research to include ‘research on social and emotional learning [SEL] . . . .’

“SEL is defined as ‘the process through which children . . . acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.’  SEL is all the rage in public education…”

“…SETRA would authorize the federal government to sponsor research on these social and emotional attributes. This means the government may analyze a child’s psychological makeup…”

stealth eye two

Another important point:

“…even if there were real, measurable educational value in analyzing every child’s psyche, do members of Congress really believe government has any business doing this?… SETRA also allows the approved bureaucracy to ‘establish . . . cooperative education statistics systems for the purpose of producing and maintaining . . . data on early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, adult education…‘”

The article concludes:  “SETRA passed the Senate on a voice vote and now awaits action in the House. House members, take note: A vote for SETRA in its current form is a vote for psychological profiling of innocent children. It’s bad enough that so-called conservatives in Congress voted for ESSA; it will be unforgivable if they vote for SETRA.”

Read the entire article at Townhall.com.

Call US Congress at 202-224-3121 to influence your elected representatives.

crying stopesea

 

HB 358: Protecting Student Privacy Rights in Utah   2 comments

Student privacy rights are improving in Utah!  Utah HB 358 passed and was funded this legislative session.

This is very happy news for many who have been extremely concerned about the lack of proper privacy protections in our state and country.  Although the bill does not provide any opt-out ability for any student from the State Longitudinal Database System,  which we’ve been asking for, for four years straight, it it does take important steps in the right direction.

The bill imposes some important restrictions on how information collected by school/government systems about a student can be stored, shared, and used.  It also makes the Utah law much more protective than federal FERPA (which, as you know, was deliberately damaged by the USDOE in 2009 so that it is not protective of student privacy as it had been when first written by Congress decades ago.)

In HB 358, line 472, the new law defines who owns the data.  The student.

472          (1) (a) A student owns the student’s personally identifiable student data.

(Not the “village”.)

The bill also defines three types of personally identifiable data:  necessary, optional, and prohibited.

For example, under “necessary” data, the bill names:

316          (a) name;
317          (b) date of birth;
318          (c) sex;
319          (d) parent contact information;
320          (e) custodial parent information;
321          (f) contact information;
322          (g) a student identification number;
323          (h) local, state, and national assessment results or an exception from taking a local,
324     state, or national assessment;
325          (i) courses taken and completed, credits earned, and other transcript information;
326          (j) course grades and grade point average;
327          (k) grade level and expected graduation date or graduation cohort;
328          (l) degree, diploma, credential attainment, and other school exit information;
329          (m) attendance and mobility;
330          (n) drop-out data;
331          (o) immunization record or an exception from an immunization record;
332          (p) race;
333          (q) ethnicity;
334          (r) tribal affiliation;
335          (s) remediation efforts;
336          (t) an exception from a vision screening required under Section 53A-11-203 or
337     information collected from a vision screening required under Section 53A-11-203;

Under “Prohibited data” which schools and third parties may not collect, the bill name:

806     …administration to a student of any psychological or psychiatric
807     examination, test, or treatment, or any survey, analysis, or evaluation without the prior written consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian, in which the purpose or evident intended effect is to cause the student to reveal information… concerning the student’s or any family member’s:
811          (a) political affiliations or, except as provided under Section 53A-13-101.1 or rules of
812     the State Board of Education, political philosophies;
813          (b) mental or psychological problems;


814          (c) sexual behavior, orientation, or attitudes;
815          (d) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
816          (e) critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close
817     family relationships;
818          (f) religious affiliations or beliefs;
819          (g) legally recognized privileged and analogous relationships, such as those with
820     lawyers, medical personnel, or ministers…

Thank you, Representative Anderegg.

Read the rest of the bill here.

Updated: Protect Children’s Privacy: UT Legislature MUST Support HB0358   4 comments

Update 3/10/16:  Utah’s legislative session has passed, but HB 358, the student privacy bill, has not been funded.  And so we are stuck, at least for another year, without proper protections for our children.  (If you don’t know why that’s bad, begin by reading a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, by Jane Robbins, on why Georgia is considering a student privacy bill):

Robbins explains,  “…parents have heard glowing claims that ‘digital’ or ‘personalized’ learning will transform education, but they may not understand exactly what this means…[I]nteractive programs, marketed by private ventors, frequently use sophisticated software that collects massive amounts of highly personal information about the student’s behaviors, mindsets and attitudes”. She mentions the fact that the U.S. Department of Education is gung-ho on slurping up that personal, psychological information about beliefs and attitudes, as evidenced in its own published draft  reports.  (Must-reads!)  Robbins makes the real point when she writes,  “The issue here goes far beyond data security.  It is whether the government and private companies have any right to collect this highly sensitive data in the first place.”

Not passing/funding the Utah HB 358 privacy bill, while passing and funding HB 277, the digital education bill, was crazy.  It was the worst mistake of this entire legislative year.

Does the legislature not know that data is the new gold rush, and that education vendors are behaving as if this is the old wild west, without solid laws to govern student data sharing and partnering and selling?  Does the legislature not know that to the federal government, also, data is the new gold rush as well, and that our own Congressman Jason Chaffetz held recent hearings against the Department of Education for its data insecure practices– and gave the Dept. an “F”?

Think of it this way:  legislators just barely bought the children and teachers of Utah the trendiest, shiniest $15 million vehicle (HB 277) while saying, “We are unable –or unwilling — to pay for seat belts and air bags” –though the safety features would have cost a tiny, tiny fraction (one-sixteenth) of what the vehicle cost.

Where are their brains?

That digital vehicle, HB277 is worthless, at least to this mom, without the seat belts for the kids.  I, for one, will not allow my own children to get into that wild, glittering ride.

 

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Original post:

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HB 358 is here.  It is no small miracle.

If it does not pass (and get funded) tomorrow, the Utah legislature is silently informing us that privacy protections for children’s data do not really matter, and that citizens should not have rights to personal ownership over their personal data.

Even though HB 358 is scheduled for a hearing today at the Capitol:  Tuesday, March 8th, at 5:00 p.m., the bill is in trouble because the executive appropriations committee did not fund it.  That’s almost the same thing as killing the bill.   (The appropriations committee needs to hear from MANY of us, as fast as possible.  See below for contact information.)

I have been head-bangingly furious about the lack of proper privacy protections for my children since 2012, when I found out that there was such a thing as a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS)– here and in every other state–and when I then asked to opt out of SLDS tracking, I just received the State School Board’s official “no” letter.

In America, land of the free!  In Utah, land of family-friendly liberty.  Here, I was told that I was not allowed to opt my child out of  SLDS, so that being tagged, tracked, and longitudinally stalked, from day one in school until my child was a working adult and beyond, was a mandate.

I also found out that:

1-  Although it starts with the word “State,” the SLDS is federally paid-for and is aligned to federal data standards and is federally interoperable;

2.  Those who house Utah’s SLDS have zero legislative oversight.  Incredibly, when SLDS began in 2009, there was zero vote-taking; SLDS came because of a grant application filled out by a clerk at the state office of education simply asking for a federal SLDS grant, and then it was implemented without voter approval.  Yet SLDS is 100% applied to all school children, non-consensually.

4.  FERPA (federal privacy law) was altered in 2009 by the Department of Education to become almost meaningless.  Despite a huge law suit, FERPA stayed in its altered, privacy-harming state.   So:  in-state or beyond, proper privacy protections do not exist.  (For more on that, see the recent hearings of Rep. Jason Chaffetz against the U.S. Dept. of Education)

5.  SLDS interfaces with many other state agencies in the Utah Data Alliance, so there is no guarantee that a student’s private data, collected by a school, won’t end up in the data silo of another agency totally unrelated to education.  SLDS has the ability, if state policy allows, to also interface with federal agencies’ data, other states’ and even other nations’ data collections.

 

This situation has literally kept me up at night, many nights, including tonight.

Along with countless other moms and dads, lawyers, think tanks, and legislators, I’ve done a lot of research and writing and speaking and pleading on this subject.  See some of what I learned and shared in the past four years, here or here or here or here or here or here or here or here.

I tell you all this in case you are new to this issue so that you’ll understand how INCREDIBLY important passing  HB 358 is.

House Bill 358 ought to be treated as one of the very most, if not the most, important bill at the Capitol this year.  But the legislature is saying that there isn’t enough money to pass the privacy bill, which has an implementation price tag of $800,000.  Oddly, the legislature has agreed to fund the FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLAR technology grant program, HB 277, but that technology bill is meaningless without privacy protections for students’ data.

Is the “no funding for HB 358” decision truly a budgeting pinch decision, or is it a matter of the legislators not caring enough about the rights of students to have privacy?

Here are a few of the lines in the bill that I really appreciate:

Line 463 says:   “A student owns the student’s personally identifiable student data”.

Lines 494-503 say that schools have to give disclosure statements to parents, promising not to share certain types of data with out a data authorization.

Lines 775-792 prohibit psychiatric or psychological tests or analysis without prior written consent of parents, and specifically protect data collection about sexual orientation and behavior, mental problems, religious beliefs, self-incriminating behavior, appraisals of individuals with whom the student has a close family relationship; income, etc, and that written consent is required in all grades, kindergarten through 12th.

The bill designates three different types of data that schools may collect:  necessary, optional, and prohibited.

Even though the “necessary” list seems too long, at least it limits data collection.  It will collect data “required by state statute or federal law to conduct the regular activities of an education entity” such as name, date of birth, sex, parent contact information, student i.d., test results or exceptions from taking tests, transcript information, immunization record or exception from an immunization record, drop out data, race, etc.

Line 346-351    The “optional” list includes IEP information, biometric information, and information that is required for a student to participate in federal data gathering programs.

Lines 356 – 376  The bill also defines “personally identifiable student data” as data that cannot be legally disaggregated (identified by a particular student)  (See lines 224-227 for disaggregation language):

356          (i) a student’s first and last name;
357          (ii) the name of a student’s family member;
358          (iii) a student’s or a student’s family’s home or physical address;
359          (iv) a student’s email address or online contact information;
360          (v) a student’s telephone number;
361          (vi) a student’s social security number;
362          (vii) a student’s biometric identifier;
363          (viii) a student’s health or disability data;
364          (ix) a student’s education entity student identification number;
365          (x) a student’s social media login or alias;
366          (xi) a student’s persistent identifier, if the identifier is associated with personally


367     identifiable student data, including:
368          (A) a customer number held in a cookie; or
369          (B) a processor serial number;
370          (xii) a combination of a student’s last name or photograph with other information that
371     together permits a person to contact the student online;
372          (xiii) information about a student or a student’s family that a person collects online and
373     combines with other personally identifiable student data to identify the student; and
374          (xiv) other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific
375     student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have
376     first-hand knowledge of the student, to identify the student with reasonable certainty.

We need to protect our kids!  This bill NEEDS to pass!

If you’ve ever read 1984 and remember Big Brother; if good old-fashioned history books have taught you that tyranny has been far more dominant than liberty throughout world history (with the exception of a freedom experienced in the U.S. under the Constitution for a few 200+ years) –or if you’ve been paying attention to the recent struggle between big-data and individual rights–  then you know:  allowing any person or government –unfettered–  to track individuals without their consent, for virtually the duration of their entire lives, is a very bad idea.

We need as many emails and phone calls or texts as we can muster before 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8,  to the following representatives, and especially to Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and President Niederhauser:

Representative (Speaker) Hughes  greghughes@le.utah.gov

Senator (President) Niederhauser   wniederhauser@le.utah.gov

Senator Sanpei       dsanpei@le.utah.gov

Senator Hillyard  lhillyard@le.utah.gov

Senator Dunnigan  jdunnigan@le.utah.gov

Senator Adams  jsadams@le.utah.gov

Representative Gibson  fgibson@le.utah.gov

Senator Okerlund  rokerlund@le.utah.gov

Here they are, ready to cut and paste into your email:     dsanpei@le.utah.gov lhillyard@le.utah.gov jdunnigan@le.utah.gov jsadams@le.utah.gov  fgibson@le.utah.gov  rokerlund@le.utah.gov  greghughes@le.utah.gov   wniederhauser@le.utah.gov

 

Thank you.

 

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/bills/static/HB0358.html

 

PARENTAL RIGHTS ON THE LINE: Come at 4:00 Today – Capitol Building: HB164 and HB264   4 comments

With my stomach in knots at two sickening bills that are poised to be slammed through today, I will go (hopefully alongside very many other moms and dads and teachers like me, along with our children) to make the drive, find the impossible parking, and attend the hearings today at 4:00 at the House Building in our State Capitol building.

POWELK

POWELL – THE SPONSOR OF THE COMMON CORE-

BASED, FORCED YEARLONG TESTING BILL

 

We’ll hear legislative discussion and, if we’re lucky, will hear strong citizen testimony, on both HB 164 (that’s the “Let’s force SAGE/Common Core yearlong assessment on all kids without parental consent” bill) –now a very slightly altered version of what got voted down a few days ago, which has been unfortunately resurrected by the desperate Representatives Powell/Milner, likely egged on by equally desperate Governor Herbert and his USOE.

See lines 82-85:  “providing that scores on the tests and assessments… may [not] be considered in determining:
84          (i) a student’s academic grade for the appropriate course; or
85          (ii) whether a student may advance to the next grade level.”

By taking out “not” they have made it so that kids opting out of common core year-round tests may not pass the class or the grade, if this passes.  That breaks many other laws that place parents as primary authority, schools as supporting authority, in a child’s education.  How can parents truly have a say if the law says otherwise?   Even more importantly, a yes vote on this bill is a yes vote for the common core itself, since it assumes that the tests based on those standards are valid.  VOTE NO.

 

Also:

brian king

KING – SPONSOR OF HB264, THE ALIGNING UTAH WITH

COMMON SEX STANDARDS BILL

 

We’ll hear discussion on HB 264, the bill that alters Utah’s current sex education program, which is, or was, reasonably, actually about the medically correct facts about reproduction, sexually transmitted diseases, and the fact that abstinence and fidelity are great tools to avoid trouble — but now, under HB 264, is to  be replaced by  the “common core” national standards for sex ed, which are code named “comprehensive sexuality education,” all about altering “values, beliefs and attitudes” about sex and gender identity, with no moral judgment of any kind allowed to be taught, and no such thing as deviant or perverted behaviors to be mentioned; such seem not to exist, under the common national sex standards, separately from healthy and moral sexual behavior.

As Wendy Hart, Alpine School Board member, pointed out:   “We will be told [HB 264] is about knowledge.  Here’s some evidence.  CDC ranks Utah 47th for STDs compared to all of the other 50 states. According to the Guttmacher Institute Utah is rated 45th for teen pregnancy and 49th for teen abortions. States such as California and New York that teach comprehensive sex education are ranked in the top 10 states for all these teenage sexual activities.  So, should Utah continue with its successful abstinence-based education program resulting in Utah students ranking an average of 47th out of all 50 states for teenage sexual activity or should we change to a failed comprehensive sex education program that has produced teen sexual activity rates in the top 10 of all states?”

sex standards

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With permission, I am posting the open email and letter now, from Dr. Gary Thompson, an African-American doctor of clinical psychology (who is also currently a candidate for District 10 in the battle for State School Board seats).

This letter was sent yesterday to the legislators, who will vote on HB164 today.

Email:

To: blast@le.utah.gov,”V. Lowry Snow” <vlsnow@le.utah.gov>,LaVar Christensen <lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov>,kimcoleman@le.utah.gov,brucecutler@le.utah.gov,seliason@le.utah.gov,justinfawson@le.utah.gov,Francis Gibson <fgibson@le.utah.gov>,ehutchings@le.utah.gov,dlifferth@le.utah.gov,dmccay@le.utah.gov,csmoss@le.utah.gov,mnoel@kanab.net,mariepoulson@le.utah.gov

Subject: Memo To House/Press Release RE: Objection to HR 164-2

Dear Honorable Members of the Utah House of Representatives Education Committee:
Please find attached, my formal objection to HR 164-2, which if passed, will mandate that all Utah students be subjected to a experimental, non validated test, regardless of parental, medical doctor or psychological doctor objections.    I believe that this test is not only a experimentation on Utah’s children’s without informed written consent from parents, it is by its very design, discriminatory against African American, Latino, Gifted, Autistic, and Special Education Students in Utah public schools.
It is my understanding that this Bill will be up for a (re) vote sometime early this week.    Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions, or need volumes of peer reviewed research which backs the contents of my letter.
I have been flooded with email and social media requests to address this issue from my perspective as a doctor of psychology, and father of five divergent learning, African American children.
I appreciate your civic service performed on behalf of the children in the State of Utah.   Thank you very much for your attention.
Best regards;

 

Gary Thompson, Psy.D.
gary
Accompanying letter:

February 21, 2016
Re: Objection to HB 164-2

Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center, Inc.

Dr. Gary T. Thompson

Utah State House of Representatives House Education Committee

Dear House Education Committee:

I am writing in regards to HB 164-2 on behalf of my five African-American children, as well as the hundreds of mothers who have graced the halls of the pediatric clinical/education child psychology clinic that I co-founded with my wife. This Bill will require all public school children in the State of Utah to take the SAGE assessment test, eliminate the option of parents to opt their children out of taking the test, and will mandate the usage of SAGE as a primary determinate for advancement in early elementary school grades, as well as graduation from Utah public high schools. The passage of this Bill will have far-reaching negative academic, psychological, ethical, economic, and legal consequences that will haunt our State for generations.

I have devoted my life to the research, study and ethical clinical usage of emotional, cognitive and academic achievement tests to assist parents, schools, and courts with making life-altering decisions for children. During my Doctoral Internship and Residency, I gained a intimate working knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the incredible technology and psychometric qualities embedded in the algorithms of the computer adaptive tests that are now the foundational basis of the SAGE test at issue of this Bill.

The psychometric algorithms imbedded inside the SAGE test are remarkable, cutting edge, and unlike anything our generation has seen or experienced in our lifetime. As a local clinical community scientist, I have spent many hours enthusiastically reading peer reviewed studies from my colleagues over the past 8 years in anticipation of utilizing computer adaptive assessment of this nature for children in my community, as well as my own children.

I am a strong advocate for the ethical and prudent usage and inclusion of technology in efforts to assist ground level teachers with serving the academic needs of children in educational settings. The next 4 years will see innovations in this area that will be awe inspiring, as well as ground breaking in nature.

Despite my scientific enthusiasm and support for the inclusion and integration of psychometric tools, such as the SAGE test, in the academic lives of my children, and the children of my neighbors in my community, I beg you both as father, and a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, to never let this Bill see the light of day. My strong objection is not based on personal politics, and obviously has no basis in a “fear of technology”.

This Bill must not pass for one reason, and one reason only: It is still in its developmental/experimental phase, and has yet to be validated independently for its intended purpose. Without a shadow of a doubt, the corporation that the Utah State Office of Education chose as the vendor for the SAGE test (American Institute of Research), has launched the most expansive, massive, unethical experimentation on public school children ever witnessed in the history of Utah. Clinical psychology is replete with tragic, historical examples of the dire consequences associated with experimentation without the informed, written consent of its human participants. To pass a law which takes away the right of parents of protect their psychologically vulnerable children from the adverse, and well documented effects of high stakes, experimental assessment of any nature, is irresponsible, unethical, and dangerous.

One needs to look no further than the State of Florida to see the chaos, harm and damage associated with the AIR produced Common Core test currently being utilized for purposes of grade advancement, and teacher evaluations. In closing, on behalf of the parents of African American, Latino, Divergent Learning, Special Education, Gifted, Anxious, Depressed, Suicidal, ADHD, Autistic, and emotionally vulnerable children in the State of Utah, I respectfully request that the House not only allow parents to opt out of the SAGE test, but encourage them to withdraw their children when they witness excessive signs of distress associated with experimental, high stakes testing. In addition, I ask that no high stakes, experimental test produced by a corporate vendor, validated or not, ever be given the “respect” of being tied to grade advancement or high school graduation.

Using our kids as experimental laboratory rats, without the informed written consent of parents, to achieve “career and college readiness” is unethical by any professional standard, and is a direct affront to our God given and Constitutionally protected right as parents to protect, raise and nurture our children without invasive governmental interventions. Please vote “NO” on HB 164-2. “Parents are, and must always be, the resident experts of their own children.”

Respectfully Submitted;

Gary Thompson, Psy.D.
Retired Father of Five Divergent Learning Children
2016 Candidate-Utah State Board of Education-District 10

 

Early Life –   10757 So. Riverfront Parkway Ste. #275 South Jordan, UT 84095

Tel: 385-900-4020 Email: drgary@earlylifepsych.com Website: www.earlylifepsych.com

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If you can’t be at the capitol at 4:00 today, please text, email, and call the House Ed committee members:
Rep. Brad Last blast@le.utah.gov
Rep. Lowry Snow vlsnow@utah.le.gov 435-703-3688
Rep. LaVar Christensen lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov 801-808-5105
Rep. Kim Coleman kimcoleman@le.utah.gov 801-865-8970
Rep. Bruce Cutler brucecutler@le.utah.gov 801-556-4600
Rep. Steve Eliason seliason@le.utah.gov 801-673-4748
Rep. Justin Fawson justinfawson@le.utah.gov 801-781-0016
Rep. Francis Gibson fgibson@le.utah.gov
Rep. Eric Hutchings ehutchings@le.utah.gov
Rep. David Lifferth dlifferth@le.utah.gov 801-358-9124
Rep. Daniel McCay dmccay@le.utah.gov 801-810-4110
Rep. Michael Noel mnoel@kanab.net 435-616-5603

Thanks for your support of children’s innocence, parental authority, and children’s future liberty.

 

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