Archive for the ‘allow liberty’ Tag

Dear Voting Legislators on Utah’s Ed Committee: Protect Private Schools. Protect Children’s Innocence in Sexuality. Protect Parental Authority.   Leave a comment

american mom

Dear Legislators on Utah’s Education Committee,

Please vote YES on HB 136 by Rep. Mike Kennedy. This bill gives the state board authority to ignore fed-ed mandates. It’s the bill Rep. Dave Lifferth ran last year and it passed the House then, but didn’t make it to the floor of the senate on the final night.

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HB0136.html

Please vote NO on HB 215 by Rep. Brian King. This bill is trying to change Utah from an abstinence education state to align to a set of national, common sex ed standards called “comprehensive sexuality education standards” that are truly disturbing.   See video on the national  CSE standards: https://vimeo.com/152728936

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HB0215.html

Please vote NO on SB 59 by Sen. Gene Davis. SB 59 has sailed through the senate and puts PRIVATE schools under the purview of the state board. Here’s a link to specifics about the bill. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/utahnsagainstcommoncore/permalink/2204136833145715/)

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SB0059.html

Vote YES on SB 84 by Rep. Jake Anderegg. This bill sets up roadblocks to the legislature so they can’t pull a fast one the last couple days of the session to pass a bill. Watch this video (4 min.) to see an example. https://www.facebook.com/libertasutah/videos/1389197131113940/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SB0084.html

Please vote YES on SB 115 by Rep. Jake Anderegg. This bill eliminates the criminal penalty on parents whose children are truant and reduces it to an infraction.

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SB0115.html

Sincerely,

Christel Swasey

 

—————————————————-

FRIENDS, TAKE ACTION:

Text or call:

Rep. LaVar Christensen 801 550 1040
Rep. Bruce R. Cutler 801 556 4600
Rep. Justin L. Fawson 801 781 0016
Rep. Francis D. Gibson 801-361-0082
Rep. Eric K. Hutchings home 801-963-2639 SPONSOR
Rep. Bradley G. Last 435-817-0064
Rep. Daniel McCay 801-810-4110
Rep Kim Coleman 801-865-8970
Rep. Michael E. Noel 435-616-5603
Rep. Derrin R. Owens 435-851-1284

Email:

Val Peterson <vpeterson@le.utah.gov>,
LaVar Christensen <lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov>,
Francis Gibson <fgibson@le.utah.gov>,
Eric Hutchings <ehutchings@le.utah.gov>,
“Bradley G. Last” <blast@le.utah.gov>,
Mike Noel <mnoel@kanab.net>,
dowens@le.utah.gov,
bcutler@le.utah.gov,
kcoleman@le.utah.gov,
Daniel McCay <dmccay@le.utah.gov

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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

Utah Legislature Adopts Obama’s Model for “Turnaround Schools”   13 comments

I feel as if Secretary Duncan and President Obama run education in Utah without any legislative or USOE opposition at all, ever.

Whatever is suggested on the education pages of Whitehouse.gov, by its federal education branches or by its corporate partnersends up in Utah as a law, presented to the masses as if it were Utah’s idea.

Tonight: guess what?

The Salt Lake Tribune reported  that tonight, Utah lawmakers passed a bill that “will assign rewards and consequences to Utah schools based on the state’s controversial school grading system. Schools who improve their grades will get funding and salary bonuses, while struggling schools will have the option of getting mentoring from school turnaround experts.”

Am I the only one reading this as:  Utah adopted Obama’s School Turnaround model?

There is in fact an Obama-led, federal school turnaround model.   There’s the federal “Office of School Turnaround” where states are assigned program officers. There’s a blue team and a green team.

Utah’s been assigned to the green team on that federal office of school turnaround chart.  (I don’t remember voting on this.)

In the chart where Utah’s listed for turnaround (see below) the Utah program officer is not yet named.  It says, “To Be Determined.”  The feds hadn’t assigned us a program officer before today.

They surely will now.

 

green team

There’s also a federal Center on School Turnaround (CST) that’s so much more than an office in D.C.  It’s a whole ” federal network of 22 Comprehensive Centers”  that boasts ” 15 Regional Comprehensive Centers… and 7 national Content Centers.”  The federal CST condescends to report  that states are allowed to play a role in their own school turnaround.  But not the leading role; that’s for the feds and the Comprehensive Centers.  In a report titled “The State Role in School Turnaround” we learn that some of CST’s goals are to change states’ laws and to micromanage turnaround efforts.  In their words:

“The Center on School Turnaround’s four objectives:

  1. Create a Pro-Turnaround Statutory and Regulatory Environment
  2. Administer and Manage Turnaround Efforts Effectively”

HowStupid.  Or.   Blind.  AreWe. Really!   –And how apathetic to our rights.

Friends!  Here’s our wakeup fact of the decade: our state holds a Constitutional duty and right to keep the federal government out of education.  We are failing in this duty.  Utahns are collectively–  even lawmakers–  either asleep, too busy or perhaps paid off by corporate lobbyists partnered with the machine, that we cannot notice a swift transfer of fed ed’s aims into local ed’s reality.

The passage of SB 235 is just one example of this ongoing series of terrible mistakes that cement our actions in line with the federal will.

 

235

The new Utah law calls for “turnaround experts” to improve low labeled schools using one driving method: tests.  Schools will be labeled by student performance on Common Core/SAGE tests as low- or high-performing.  Then some will be assigned a  “turnaround expert” to raise Common Core test scores.

How will Utah, in practice, select the turnaround experts? Will the experts be chosen from Obama’s personal list of school turnaround experts, which you may view, with colorful photos of each person, at  Whitehouse.gov?  Will these experts be taken from Bill Gates’ personal turnaround recommendation list?  Will they be recommended by the Federal Center for School Turnaround (CST)?  –Or by bigtime school turnaround advocates at the Über-progressive Center for American Progress (CAP)?

That famous turnaround group, the Center for American Progress, brazenly “disagrees that school improvement should be left entirely to states” and the Center has written that: “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control… new authority will have to come at the expense of local control…  local control is the source of many of the nation’s problems related to education.”

I am not screaming out loud because I’m saving my screams until this next paragraph:

This week, the Tribune reported that longtime Utah State School Board member Leslie Castle “expressed frustration with the political rhetoric that pits states’ rights against the federal government. She…  urged her colleagues to refrain from statements critical of federal overreach.

‘I am not going to be voting in favor of anything that plays to this nonsense that somehow our relationship with the federal government is crazy and something we’re trying to get out of,’  she said.”  -Read the rest here.

In the Utah turnaround law, the phrase “credible track record” is used to establish the person who will “fix” Utah’s low-labeled schools.  “Credible track record” is an odd choice of words because in the post-2010 altered education world of Common Core, there has been no track record required of education reformers.  There were exactly  zero validity studies and no empirical evidence to accompany the Common Core standards and tests.  If you didn’t know that validity and piloting were missing, read what academics and scientists have been shouting from the rooftops about the nonvalid, utterly empty track record of Common Core tests and standards: Dr. Christopher Tienken‘s and Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s and  Dr. Gary Thompson‘s and Dr. Yong Zhao’s writings are good places to start.

Utah’s new law on school turnaround says that the experts who will turn around low-labeled schools must be:  “experts identified by the board under Section 53A-1-1206“. They must  “have a credible track record of improving student academic achievement… as measured by statewide assessments; (b) have experience designing, implementing, and evaluating data-driven instructional  systems…  have experience coaching public school administrators and teachers on designing data-driven school improvement plans…”

Translation:  the expert  solves problems by defining problems as test-centric.   The expert is solely devoted to test-focused, test-and-data-centric methods and will likely be devotees of Sir Michael Barber’s “Deliverology” method.  (“Deliverology,” written for American education reformers by a Brit, the CEA of Pearson, Inc., (the world’s largest education sales company) is a book/philosophy that  emphasizes results to the point that it’s called “merciless… imposing arbitrary targets and damaging morale” in its “top down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”)   Deliverology is popular because it works– but only when ruthlessly applied.

FYI, our U.S. Secretary of Education has long touted Barber’s books and robotic methods.

But I have veered off topic.  And Utah’s legislative session is past.

Better luck next year.

 

 

closed

 

 

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