Even though I don’t like bumper stickers, I proudly slapped a U.S. Senator Mike Lee bumper sticker on my car because he’s that rare legislator who honors in actions as well as in talk, that priceless treasure, our freedom-friendly U.S. Constitution. And this week, I waited on the phone for a long time to ask him a question during his virtual town hall meeting this week.
I never got my chance, and that’s understandable because I heard the announcer say that 15,000 Utahns were attending, so… I’ll ask it now.
It seems like any one of the grievances that I’ll list next, would deserve action. Taken together, these assaults on Constitutional rights of individuals is almost unbelievable.
What are your thoughts on this list: as a legislator, as a parent, as a teacher (especially if you are a special ed teacher) as a student, as a taxpayer, as a citizen with Constitutionally protected rights? When should Congress hold the Department of Education accountable for:
- TAKING AWAY SPECIAL ED – The Department of Education has, unbelievably, removed state authority over special education, effective this week. It used fake research to assume its new position of forcing federally aligned testing –without modifications– on special education students. That fake scholarship was exposed by special education scholar and Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Gary Thompson. The No Child Left Behind “final rule” has supposedly authorized the federal government to “no longer allow” states to call the shots on special education.
- ADMITTING IT FORCED STATE ALIGNMENT TO COMMON CORE – Department of Education official Joanne Weiss has just now not only confessed, but boasted, that the federal government deliberately “forced alignment” and “deployed tools” to push states into Race to the Top/Common Core, in this recent report. ( See the Pulse2016 article.) Important note: Weiss’ confession starkly contrasts with countless claims in the past three years from the Department, that Common Core was “state-led” and that any other view was “nonsense”. Duncan then said:
“… a new set of standards—rigorous, high-quality learning standards, developed and led by a group of governors and state education chiefs—are under attack as a federal takeover of the schools. And your role in sorting out truth from nonsense is really important.” – 2013 speech by Sec. Duncan.
3. STALKING CITIZEN DATA – The Department of Education –stunningly– succeeded in bribing states to build what is essentially each state’s own stalking system, 50 federal/state database systems, called SLDS, that were built to federal specs, with federal interoperability, and with federally aligned data tags, essentially putting 50 state databases on a federal grid, without a vote and without asking for parental or taxpayer consent to collect personal, behavioral, and academic data about citizens, longitudinally, for life, using schools as a government stalking mechanism.
4. DELETING PRIVACY LAWS – The Department of Education altered previously protective federal FERPA laws, altering policy that changed the definition of what IS personally identifiable information (PII). PII can now include biological and behavioral data (biometric data) about children or about any citizen who once was in a publically funded school. The Department also reduced to just a “best practice” –a.k.a. “optional”– the previously protective FERPA rule that parental consent had to be received prior to any sharing of student PII. The Department was sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for doing this. Read details at that site.
5. STANDARDIZING THE P-20 DATA MINE – The Department of Education partnered with a private, closed-door group called CCSSO (the co-creators, by the way, of Common Core) to co-produce common data standards, called CEDS, which further standardizes the data mining ability of the federal government over American citizens from early childhood through the workforce, in an initiative known as P-20 (or P-20W).
6. TEACHING AND IMPLEMENTING SOCIALISM, ALMOST AS A NATIONAL RELIGION – The Department of Education’s official blog, as well as Secretary Duncan’s speeches themselves, have unilaterally redefined education– as the teaching of socialism, aka social justice. Who passed a law that social justice would be the foundation for student learning? Who was authorized to take the entire population of U.S. school children down that path? In “Education is Social Justice” and other official articles and speeches, we learn that no longer will our education dollars teach our children to cherish Constitutional ideals like individual rights, property rights, separation of powers, or religious; instead schools will teach social justice, which is, unfortunately, not justice. It is theft. It allows the Department of Education (or others) to steal teachers, money, or data from one group to redistribute to another, without consent. Duncan can’t seem to give a single speech without spreading “social justice” and his Equity and Education Commission‘s publications reveal that the Department is promoting not just the teaching, but the implementation of socialism and forced redistribution, nationally. Shouldn’t there at least have been a vote?
7. SUBMITTING TO GATES – The Department of Education worked closely with, and accepted money from, the worlds’ second richest man and implemented nationwide policies based not on voter intent but on Gates’ intent. As Diane Ravitch wrote: “The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and — working closely with the U.S. Department of Education — impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal. A congressional investigation is warranted.”
“When the story of the Common Core is finally told, it’s going to be ugly. It’s going to show how the sponsors of the Common Core made a mockery of the Constitution and the democratic process. It’s going to show how the Obama administration pressed a completely untested reform on the states, evading public debate at both the federal and state levels. It’s going to show how a deliberative process that ought to have taken years was compressed into a matter of months. It’s going to show how legitimate philanthropic funding for an experimental education reform morphed into a gross abuse of democracy. It’s going to show how the Obama Education Department intentionally obscured the full extent of its pressure on the states, even as it effectively federalized the nation’s education system. It’s going to show how Common Core is turning the choice of private — especially Catholic — education into no choice at all.”
That quote comes from Stanley Kurtz’s article for “The Ethics and Policy Center”entitled “Time for Congressional Hearings on Common Core”.
So maybe it’s good that I didn’t get to ask this question on the phone with my senator this week. I can mail it to him now. Maybe others will, too.