Archive for the ‘Open Letter’ Tag

Who’s Trump Pick for Education?   5 comments

evers-meme

I agree with Joy Pullman: “I shouldn’t have to give a flying fig about whom Donald Trump picks for this position.”

But we care, and the figs are flying, because there’s so much power unconstitutionally wielded by the executive branch over local education.

Although Trump did say in a campaign interview that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Education,  it does not look as though that’s going to happen, sadly.  The next best thing is to name a local-control oriented, constitution-loving Education Secretary.

Will Trump do that?

Trump’s choice of ed guru Bill Evers to his transition team spoke hope to those opposed to Common Core.   Evers, a scholar at Hoover Institute (Stanford University) had been speaking out and writing bookswhite papersthink tank documents, and columns against Common Core; he served on panels and published opinion editorials  against the nationalization of our formerly autonomous educational system.  He’d been featured widely for his scholarship and activism; see for example, Breitbart, CSPAN, Stanford UniversityUtahns Against Common Core, Education Reporter.

Evers proclaimed that Common Core “violated the traditions of open debate and citizen control that are supposed to undergird public schooling” and said that “Common Core’s national uniformity runs counter to competitive federalism”.

Surely Evers would turn the Common Core machine around, thought parents and freedom loving teachers across this nation, and they took action.

A public letter from United States Parents Involved in Education last week pleaded with Trump to choose Dr. Bill Evers for Education Secretary.  (See who signed that letter here.)

evers-meme-too

A similar public  letter from Parents Against Common Core asked Trump to consider, along with Dr. Bill Evers, Dr. Larry Arnn, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Peg Luksik, or Dr. William Jeynes.

You can still sign that letter here.

Frighteningly though, this week Trump interviewed Michelle Rhee, one of the top ten scariest education reformers in the nation, for the job; the scandal-pocked former Commissioner of Education in D.C. and author of a creepy ed reform book, “Radical” is no friend to children, to opt-out liberty, or to the free market.  Of “letting them choose wherever they want to go,” she said, “I don’t believe in that model at all.”  So, Goodbye freedom, under Rhee.

There should be no chance that she’s chosen.  (Even though she’s suddenly, cutely, dressing in red, white and blue to meet the president elect, do not be fooled!)

I hope Trump’s receiving a storm of anti-Rhee letters this week from parents and educators at his public input website.  He’s probably going to make his announcement this week.  Please, please speak up.

 

rhee-20161119

#BillEvers for Secretary!  #NeverRhee!

williamson_evers

Local School Board Members Rejecting Obama’s Transgender Agenda   42 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

THANK YOU, UTAH REPS, FOR STOPPING HB 164, FORCED-TESTING BILL   2 comments

Update:  The bill has been resurrected.  HB164 will have another vote Monday. Please email and call/text legislators, asking them to vote “No” again.  If this passes, Utah has set a precedent that says that parents do not know best, that they are not the resident experts of their own children; that the government’s SAGE/AIR tests are to be forced on children throughout the year in formative, interim and other tests; that data collected via these tests will be owned by the state, not by the individual; and that students who opt out and fail the class as a result, should blame themselves, and not the ridiculous, top-heavy system that has stymied freedom of education and freedom from unwelcome privacy invasion under the pretense that Common Core tests and standards are valid and helpful and harmless.
Emails:
Rep. Brad Last blast@le.utah.gov
Rep. Lowry Snow vlsnow@utah.le.gov 435-703-3688435-703-3688
Rep. LaVar Christensen lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov 801-808-5105801-808-5105
Rep. Kim Coleman kimcoleman@le.utah.gov 801-865-8970801-865-8970
Rep. Bruce Cutler brucecutler@le.utah.gov 801-556-4600801-556-4600
Rep. Steve Eliason seliason@le.utah.gov 801-673-4748801-673-4748
Rep. Justin Fawson justinfawson@le.utah.gov 801-781-0016801-781-0016
Rep. Francis Gibson fgibson@le.utah.gov
Rep. Eric Hutchings ehutchings@le.utah.gov
Rep. David Lifferth dlifferth@le.utah.gov 801-358-9124801-358-9124
Rep. Daniel McCay dmccay@le.utah.gov 801-810-4110801-810-4110
Rep. Carol Moss – D csmoss@le.utah.gov 801-647-8764801-647-8764
Rep. Michael Noel mnoel@kanab.net 435-616-5603435-616-5603
Rep. Marie Poulson – D mariepoulson@le.utah.gov
—————————————
What I wrote earlier:
—————————————
Dear Representatives,
Thank you so much for not allowing HB164 to pass.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am, both as a parent and as a teacher.
It would have been immoral to prevent children from graduating if they didn’t take yearlong, secretive, standardized tests; even more so, when that test, SAGE/AIR, had never been validated (it had never been shown to accurately test what it claimed to test).
The vote against this bill also honored multiple  laws that hold parents as primary decision makers over the education of their children, with the state in a supporting role.
I honor you for this.  Thank you.
Christel Swasey
————————————————————–

State Office of Education Operating Database to Track Individuals Without Authority   2 comments

baby

The following letter is reposted with permission from Libertas Institute, a Utah-based conservative think-tank.  It was given to members of the Utah legislature two weeks ago.

It concerns the State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) which was implemented in Utah –and in every state, thanks to federal bribery– just a few years ago.

Each SLDS runs according to federal specs and is interoperable.  Thus, the fifty SLDS systems function together as a “de facto” federal stalking system on children, college students, and the members of the U.S. workforce.  Every state’s “voluntary” SLDS feeds its data about citizens to the federal EdFacts data exchange.

Libertas Institute points out that SLDS was created and is being used without voter approval or representation; there was no legislative knowledge or debate, and there has been no effort to promote parental knowledge or to acquire parental/student consent for this massive, lifelong data mining project.

Action step:  after you read this letter, please contact your legislators (here is contact info for Utah legislators, the governor and  D.C. legislators)   to put them on the task of creating, at the very least, an immediate, definite, parental-opt-out bill.

 ————————————————————————–

li

September 28, 2015

To: Members of the Administrative Rules Review Committee

 

Senators and Representatives,

 

The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) will be in your meeting tomorrow, among other

things, to explain the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS)—a large database that

stores a lengthy list of data points on each child in Utah’s public schools. We are concerned

with how this database was set up and how it’s being used; as we are unable to attend the

meeting, we wish to briefly outline key concerns for your consideration.

 

We allege that USOE created, and now operates, this database without any legislative

authorization or oversight. Further, the federal funding USOE has obtained in order to build

and operate the database has required them to make certain policy commitments, as you’ll

see below, that exceed their authority and circumvented any public discussion on the matter.

 

This letter outlines three actions of which you should be aware:

1. The “Four Assurances” promised by Governor Huntsman

2. A grant received by USOE to build the federally compliant SLDS

3. The 2015 grant announced just last week to further develop and utilize the SLDS

 

The “Four Assurances” promised by Governor Huntsman

 

On April 15, 2009, Governor Jon Huntsman signed an Application for Initial Funding under

the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program, submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.

The purpose of this application was to obtain federal “stimulus” dollars; here is the

explanation from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE):

 

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) program is a new one-time appropriation of $53.6 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Of the amount appropriated, the U. S. Department of Education will award governors approximately $48.6 billion by formula under the SFSF program in exchange for a commitment to advance essential education reforms…

 

Without legislative authorization or guarantee, the Governor made four assurances to the

USDOE—a required step in order to receive any many. Those assurances were as follows:

 

 

1. The State of Utah will take actions to “improve teacher effectiveness” and “address

inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers between high- and low-poverty

schools”

2. The State of Utah will “establish a longitudinal data system”

3. The State will –

 

1. Enhance the quality of the academic assessments it administers…

2. Comply with the requirements… related to the inclusion of children with

disabilities and limited English proficient students in State assessments, the

development of valid and reliable assessments for those students, and the

provision of accommodations that enable their participation in State assessments;

(Inclusion Assurance) and

3. Take steps to improve State academic content standards and student academic

achievement standards consistent with section 6401(e)(1)(A)(ii) of the America

COMPETES Act. (Improving Standards Assurance)

4. The State will ensure compliance with the requirements of section 1116(b)(7)(C)(iv) and

section 1116(b)(8)(B) of the ESEA with respect to schools identified under these sections.

(Supporting Struggling Schools Assurance)

 

Thus, without any legislation to back it up, the federal government was promised significant

policy reforms in the state: common education standards (“Common Core”), new

assessments, teacher evaluations, school grading, and a comprehensive data collection system.

 

All of this was done in pursuit of money; less than a year later, U.S. Secretary of Education

Arne Duncan announced that Utah had been showered with $741,979,396 through the

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Utah lawmakers—and thus the public at large—were left out of the loop.

 

A grant received by USOE to build the federally compliant SLDS

 

Under the same Recovery (“stimulus”) Act, USOE was given a grant of $9.6 million to create

the Utah Data Alliance—a longitudinal database that was fully compliant with USDOE

requirements. While data systems had obviously existed previous to this grant, this one was

geared, as USOE wrote, primarily towards satisfying questions and requirements “asked by

the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Institute of Educational Sciences

(IES), SLDS grants program; the ARRA, Race to the Top (RttT); and the State Fiscal

Stabilization Fund (SFSF) assurances”—all federal mandates tied to funding USOE desired.

 

The Utah legislature did not authorize the creation of the SLDS, to our knowledge. The only

statutory references we have been able to identify refer to the already-existing database. For

example, Senate Bill 82 in 2013 (which passed and was signed into law) had this language:

(e) “Utah Student Record Store” means a repository of student data collected

from LEAs as part of the state’s longitudinal data system that is:

(i) managed by the Utah State Office of Education;

(ii) cloud-based; and

(iii) accessible via a web browser to authorized LEA users.

(2) (a) The State Board of Education shall use the robust, comprehensive data

collection system maintained by the Utah State O*ce of Education…

According to USOE, a statewide longitudinal database—mostly complaint with federal

standards—had been in operation since 2005.

 

The 2015 grant announced just last week to further develop and utilize the SLDS

 

On September 17, 2015, the Institute of Education Sciences—a project housed within the U.S.

Department of Education—announced that Utah was awarded a grant under the Statewide

Longitudinal Data System Grant Program in the amount of _____AMOUNT______, along

with potential continuation grants to provide more funding in the years ahead.

USOE’s application for this grant , obtained through an open records request, sheds light on

the alarming nature of this project. In order to suggest legislative authorization for the SLDS

and Utah Data Alliance, USOE argues that “The Utah State Legislature awarded UDA

partners [individual state agencies] ongoing appropriations to support sustainability of the

original infrastructure (e.g., database, researchers, technicians, project director, and technical

contracts), which demonstrates the state’s commitment to the work and

mission of the UDA data warehouse.” In other words, narrow appropriations for data projects

in state agencies is being interpreted as blanket authority for, and support of, the overall

SLDS project. We feel this a misguided and unreasonable inference.

Further, USDOE’s Request for Applications document specifies that “a successful data system

rests upon a governance structure involving both State and local stakeholders in the system’s

design and implementation.” However, USOE’s application admits that only “A memorandum

of understanding governs the partnership. A governance plan documents the policies of the

partnership and is continuously updated and refined to address emerging governance issues.”

An MOU, which can continuously evolve free from vetted processes and public input, is

insufficient to govern the requirements of such a large database—one that has significant

privacy and security implications.

 

There are many disconcerting statements and policy priorities outlined in USOE’s

application, but our main concern here is that the real “stakeholders” have been completely

left out of the loop. From information we have gathered, the State Board of Education was

unaware of this grant application. No vote was taken on the issue. No legislative

authorization was given to compile this information on every child, make the information

available to state government agencies (including “individual-level data in the UDA data

warehouse”), or provide data to third parties. Most importantly, the true stakeholders are

almost totally unaware that this database even exists; Utah law recognizes that “the state’s

role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.”

 

You may be aware that Libertas Institute organized a lawsuit late last year against the State

Board of Education over its rushed adoption of Common Core, done in an e*ort to obtain

federal money under the Race to the Top grant. (A hearing is scheduled in a few weeks.) We

feel that a pattern exists within USOE, whereby education policy is dictated not with input

from parents and teachers, or even legislators or the State Board of Education, but by USOE’s

seemingly insatiable appetite for federal grants, which inevitably come with significant

strings.

 

If “strings” are to exist, then they must be openly discussed, debated, and authorized—not

agreed upon behind closed doors with the unscrutinized stroke of a pen.

You as legislators have been circumvented and deemed largely irrelevant on this issue.

Significant education policies are being adopted and implemented without public input. We

encourage you to take an active interest in this issue and bring transparency and scrutiny to

USOE grant applications and the policies that necessarily follow.

 

Sincerely,

 

Connor Boyack

President, Libertas Institute

785 E. 200 S., Suite 2, Lehi, UT 84043

801.901.0310

LibertasUtah.org

 

DOCUMENT SOURCES

1  Application for Initial Funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program, http://

www2.ed.gov/programs/statestabilization/stateapps/ut-sub.pdf

“State Fiscal Stabilization Fund,” U.S. Department of Education, March 7, 2009, http://

2  www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/factsheet/stabilization-fund.html

“UTAH STUDENT RECORDS EXCHANGE,” https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/

3  Utahabstract.pdf

“INFORMATION RELATED TO FY15 GRANTS,” http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/

4  grant_information.asp

“Enhancing Utah Data Alliance College and Career and Evaluation and Research Capabilities

5  through Web Technology,” http://libertasutah.org/drop/slds_2015.pdf

 

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Dr. Gary Thompson’s Open Letter to Dr. Darling-Hammond on her Common Core Tests   11 comments

dr-thompson

 

Utah’s Dr. Gary Thompson wrote an open letter to Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond tonight.

 

Dear Dr. Hammond:

How does placing students in front of an experimental test that has yet to undergo extensive validity measures equate to accountability in the traditional manner in which you speak?

Let me answer that question for you in three simple words:

It.  Does.  Not.

Regards,

Dr. Gary Thompson

 

 

I want to give context so that you can fully appreciate the letter’s significance.

Darling-Hammond, of Stanford University, is on the list of “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform” for good reasons.  She works for private organizations that crush  Constitutional control of education; she promotes and writes books about socialist redistribution of wealth, and she plays key roles in the Obama administration’s fed ed goals.  She’s been an advisor and/or board member for:

1.  The Obama Administration’s Equity and Excellence Commission

2.  The CCSSO – Common Core co-creator

3.  The NGA – Common Core co-creator

4.  The CSCOPE of Texas

5. American Institutes for Research (AIR, Utah’s and Florida’s Common Core tester)

5. WestED (SBAC’s Common Core test partner)

6.  National Academy of Education

7. American Educational Research Association

8. Alliance for Excellent Education

–and more.

 

linda d

 

Dr. Thompson pointed out to his Facebook friends that Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond has been very busily publishing this month.

Her sudden articles in the Huffington Post, The Hill, Stanford University,  NEA, ECE and elsewhere show that now, while Congress heatedly debates the ESEA/No Child Left Behind disaster, she’s  desperate to persuade Congress to use Common Core and its tests as “an engine to drive better educational practice.

Darling-Hammond paints a pretty, distracting frame around her ugly baby, the Common Core.  She pretends that the whole reason parents are pushing back is only high stakes testing and she mentions nothing else that parents are screeching about.  Apparently to her, the Constitution has nothing to do with it; experimentation on children has nothing to do with it;  data mining has nothing to do with it; unpiloted and shaky standards have nothing to do with it; validity-report-lacking tests have nothing to do with it.  She keeps the “conversation” on the clearly obvious: that  basing teachers’ entire value on a test students take is stupid; that stressing those test results rather than a child’s whole education is even more stupid. (Yes, the sky is blue and the grass is green.)

But what she’s really pushing for is NOT what parents want.  In “The Hill” blog post, she pressed for federal enforcement of Common Core tests: “urge the federal government to make sure districts provide annual assessments of student progress, while allowing states to develop systems of assessment”.  She added, “The Feds should continue to require states to flag districts that require improvement”  and “the Feds need to treat accountability as an ongoing process…”

Her article in HuffPo praises California for allocating $1.25 BILLION for Common Core and for eliminating “all the old tests while bringing in new and better Common Core assessments” and concludes: “the Common Core standards in California are an engine to drive better educational practice“.

Her strategy seems to be to get readers to start nodding with her about the high stakes tests, and then forget to stop nodding when she crosses the line and promotes a unicorn:  a gentler, kinder version of the same darn Common Core tests.  She uses the term “we agreed” seven times to make her point in one article, as she claims that reformers from a wide spectrum of political camps agree with her.  Dr. Darling-Hammond, please know the wide spectrum of political camps is loaded with those who disagree with you.  Case in point:  Dr. Thompson (an Obama voter in the last election) and me (long ago lovingly and correctly labeled a “right wing nut case” –by Dr. Thompson.)

Dr. Thompson put it this way to his Facebook friends tonight:

“Advocacy should never be used as a means to effect change in ethics,” –but because Darling-Hammond is doing so– “it makes it real easy for small-town Utah doctors like myself who do not hold positions of import at Stanford University to effectively ‘slam’ the Dr. Hammonds of the world… Not once did she mention the words ‘valid testing‘.  Parents are, and always must be, the resident experts of their own children.  I will always challenge those in positions of power who use pseudo science to back their claims. It is an affront to my profession.”

Then he posted his pointed letter to Dr. Darling-Hammond.

May his letter go far and wide.  May Darling-Hammond enjoy the mountains of money she’s made $erving the institution$ that aim to $tandardize education and data so that they can control citizens more effectively.  –And may Congress see right through her words.

Congress just might.

This month we saw Senator Vitter’s Local Control of Education Act  pass the U.S. Senate.  (Read it here.)  It doesn’t end Common Core, but it spanks the Department of Education for ramming it down our throats, and prevents conditional-on-common-standards-grants.

We also saw key members of the Senate and the House sign powerful  letters  (here’s the other) that demand an end to the funding and pushing of Common Core.

So there is definitely, definitely hope.

 

 

 

Utah’s Fight for Student Data Privacy is On   4 comments

 

Sharing my letter, send out today.

——————————–

Dear [State School] Board,

I am gravely concerned about the “emergency vote” that was taken by the board last month, which decreased the amount of student data privacy protections that were previously in place, in order to cater to corporate education vendors, and in order to align with unlawful federal regulatory changes to federal FERPA– which harmed parental rights and student privacy, giving third party vendors unwarranted trust and access to student data.  Where were the student advocates and parent testifiers, when the corporate testifiers had their day to speak and to influence this board?
http://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/135221.pdf
I request that the “emergency vote” be immediately dismissed as unethical and unlawful, because it aligns exactly with the unethical and unlawful alterations that the Dept. of Education has made to family privacy rights without Congressional approval.  I request that a deep and probing study be taken on this weighty issue prior to a vote.  Allowing vendors this easy data-access aligns with the abuses of the Department of Education, and are not in harmony with vital principles of individual rights, family rights, and freedom from essentially handing oversight of education and student records to unelected vendors.
Christel Swasey
——————————
(I’ll keep you posted.)
——————————-

anderegg

Utah Rep. Jake Anderegg

 

 

Why I wrote the letter?

I compared the student privacy protection bill  that Utah Representative Jake Anderegg is running right now, with the summary of a recent public hearing –in which corporate education vendors pushed for decreased student privacy and for increased student data sharing.  I realized that the fight is truly going on right now in Utah.  Most people don’t know the fight is on; it doesn’t make news headlines, though it should.  So few people speaking up.  And the board assumes it’s okay with all of us to keep loosening and loosening student data protections.

Should students and families maintain individual rights over student data privacy or not?  

Which side are you on?

Have we as an informed electorate, as neighbors, and families and friends, discussed what happens when students and families do  –or do not– have data privacy protection?  These are weighty matters with long term consequences.

The board’s having had a seemingly quick and one-sided “hearing” followed by an “emergency vote” seems hasty and even dangerous.

Let’s think and talk and debate thoroughly before we automatically align with corporate agendas.  Let’s ask ourselves how these alignments and their possible unintended consequences may affect our children in the long term.

Both the bill and the summary report are wordy and  un-reader-friendly, true. But we can’t know what side to support if we don’t study it out. So here are the links and abbreviated screenshots –of the two sides– to get started.

Anderegg’s privacy protection bill  calls for increased privacy protections, particularly in reference to third party vendors:

anderegg bill

 

 

The corporate education vendors call for decreased privacy protections.  They say that the former provision that a school/district was to be the only entity authorized to collect and store school records is “overly restrictive and does not allow Third Party Ventors to collect and access records…. the rule does not reflect the actual practice”.

(If it does not reflect the actual practice, that is because federal agents have been unethically altering what Congress held the sole right to alter: Federal FERPA privacy law.  Do we in Utah want to align with federal abuses, in order to cater to education vendors?  Sure, the vendors testify that it’s a great idea.  It makes their businesses run better. But the board ought to place the needs and rights of students and their families above corporate education vendors.  Who is advocating for individual privacy rights for children at the corporate level? Nobody.  The businesses want that data, and they don’t want to be inconvenienced by parental or student rights.)

Here’s the link to that report (and the first two pages, screenshots).

 

 

 

state report on third party data sharing

 

screenshot two of utah report data

Here’s my “explain it to a fourth grader” summary of the situation:   “When the government lets business people run the schools, the business people want to store records of what students do, so the government says OK.  It is not good because the voters lose power over their rights.  Voters can change the laws of government and can un-elect those we’ve elected to govern schools, but we cannot influence what business people do nor who gets to run businesses, by our vote.  We have no control over them.  That gives them control over us and over our records/privacy rights.  We need to keep control of ourselves,  our children, and our privacy rights.  We should not give business people power over our schools, no matter how nice they are.

Open Letter From Idaho Grandmother to Legislature   4 comments

An Idaho grandmother, Yvonne Hyer, recently wrote a letter to legislators.  She didn’t just confront her own representatives about Common Core and student data mining; she signed, stamped, and mailed her letter to one hundred and five members of the Idaho legislature.

On this eve of her ninetieth birthday, Yvonne Hyer told  Idaho legislators that she remembers what she was doing when America’s Pearl Harbor was bombed, on a day when the current Idaho legislators weren’t even born.

Her letter warns, “We had all better remember.  If we don’t learn from the past, we are bound to repeat the same horrible mistakes.

(I have added some historical photos to illustrate Yvonne Hyer’s points.)

 

girls and boys in hitler

Yvonne’s letter explained that is was a mistake to give in –during a climate of dissatisfaction, unemployment and economic insecurity– to the comforting lies of collectivist power-grabbers, focused on transforming schools.

g boyggggggg boys sg1941 nazi elementary school buch

 Actual illustrated children’s textbook from 1941 Germany (notice Hitler’s agenda embedded in curriculum)

 

The mistakes seem to be repeating themselves, wrote Yvonne Hyer: American leaders have begun to walk the school-transforming path sketched out by current elected officials and their corporate allies.  This reminded Yvonne Hyer of how many listened to the then-heroic young leader of the 1940s, Adolph Hitler, and how nobody stopped him from taking over the schools.

He gained control over the minds of the German children who became known as Hitler’s Youth.  This he did in the school room…” she wrote.

girls and boys heiling

Her letter further explains that one reason the German government mandated what went on in the classroom was to indoctrinate students with “politically correct” idealogy.  But there was a second reason.

girl youth

 

It was student (and family) data mining which took place in large part the German educational system:

“They were taught that it was their duty to report anyone who spoke against the government or its leaders, even their own parents….There was a lot of spying, to keep them in line… If Hitler had had access to Common Core’s data mining in that day, it would have been a snap to get what he wanted…”

girl hitler

“…Please don’t think I’ll believe you or anyone else who tells me that this data mining is strictly for educational purposes. As I told you in the beginning of this letter, I was not born yesterday…. Please do all you can to get us out of Common Core….the data mining of our children, by way of the State Longitudinal Database System, and the complete disregard for the child’s privacy (and their family’s privacy) are uppermost in my mind and heart“.

Yvonne is correct.

But will her legislators ponder the wisdom of this woman’s observations –and take action?

Are they aware that no student or family is permitted to opt out of the state longitudinal database system, which does collect massive amounts of student and family information without parental consent– and that this database system has been built in exactly the same, federally-prescribed, interoperable way, in every single one of the fifty states?

Do they realize that she’s completely correct– that Common Core is no different from the power grabbing that’s taken place throughout history,  where always, the would-be elites have sought and gained access to and control over the school room?

Do they take a moment to think about the fact that the reason so many were successfully deceived and used as pawns in the widespread power-taking agendas of the past (not limited to Hitler’s Reich; including countless historical examples, past and present, around the world–) the reason for that success was that the official marketing lines sound so very, very appealing?

Will these legislators take a moment to fact check Yvonne’s claims and to fact check the claims about Common Core that gush forth, with exactly the same phrasing, from Boards of Education, federal grant application documents, official federal speeches, corporate educational sales speeches, poised-for-riches Chambers of Commerce and crony moneymakers’ speeches?  Why doesn’t any legislature or state school board use its research team to fact-check and motivation-check?

This wise  woman’s call for the legislators to wake up and stop the takeover of our schools and our students’ data privacy could not be more important.

Here’s the letter:

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Dear Senator ________________,

 

In  just four months, I will be 90 years old.  Why is that important and why do I mention it to you?  It’s important because I remember World War II.

Most of you serving in the legislature at this time had not even been born then.  I remember what I was doing on Dec. 7th 1941, the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor!  Most of us living then, still remember, just as all of us living now remember what we were doing on Sept. 11th 2001, the morning the Twin Towers were attacked.  We had all better remember!  If we don’t learn from the past, we are bound to repeat the same horrible experiences.  I see many things going on in our country today, not identical, but reminiscent of an earlier time in a different part of the world.

After World War I, much of Europe was in shambles.  Millions of men had died in the trenches and open battle fields.  As those who survived returned home, they found the additional human cost was staggering.  The length of the war, four long years, brought all kinds of problems, starvation not the least among them, along with unemployment, industry having almost shut down, with so many men at the front.  In this climate of dissatisfaction, a group calling themselves the “Workers’ Party” was formed.

A young corporal was sent by his superiors to a meeting of the group to investigate.  Dressed as a civilian, he blended in and heard a speaker convincingly describe how to get rid of capitalism.  He was given a pamphlet called “My Political Awakening” which resonated with his own feelings.  In challenging a statement made by own of the workers, he learned that he had a voice and passion that could sway his listeners.  He joined the Worker’s party and advanced in its ranks, learned how to work a crowd and thus he entered into politics and in time became one of the most infamous world figures.  He used whatever means and schemes, regardless of morality or legality, to achieve his objectives.

Adolph Hitler!  What a hey-day he would have had with Common Core’s data mining! He gained control over the minds of German children who became known as “Hitler’s Youth”.  This he did in the school room.

They were taught that the Third Reich was supreme and that its leaders had unquestioned authority; this was drilled into them from the earliest grades up.  They were taught that it was their duty to report anyone they heard talking against the government or its leaders, even their own parents, and they did; it was so ingrained in them. There was a lot of spying then to find information on people, to keep them in line.  If Hitler had had access to Common Core’s data mining in that day, it would have been a snap to get the information he wanted.

I know this sounds paranoid because this would never happen in America, but lots of things have happened in our country that we would never have dreamed of.

Of what possible use is all that data that is being gathered through Common Core tests or assessments, and to whom is it important?  Ask yourself that question, and while doing so, let the fact cross your mind, that some of the items of information from your child or grandchild’s “data back pack” might just end up biting you.  Please don’t think I’ll believe you or anyone else who tells me that this data mining is strictly for educational purposes.  As I told you in the beginning of this letter, I was not born yesterday.

Please do all you can to get us out of Common Core.  There are many other things about this program that I am deeply concerned about, but the data mining of our children, by way of the State Longitudinal Database Systems and the complete disregard for the child’s privacy (and their family’s privacy) are uppermost in my mind and heart at this time.

We know that changing the name to Idaho Core didn’t change anything!  We want out!

Those of you not on the Education Committee may not be aware that Common Core is a package deal.  It’s either take all of it, or none.  It is copyrighted by two private trade groups, “The National Governors Association” and “The Council of Chief State School Officers” the NGA and the CCSSO (check: http://www.corestandards.org/public-license ).

We can add a little of what we would like to the program, 15%, but none of that will be included in the assessments.  So if an inquisitive student should choose to study some “outside material” on his own time, none of the knowledge he acquired, regardless of how much effort he put in, or the accuracy or the importance of what he learned, will be counted toward his grade, because it will not be on the prescribed assessment.  When I went to school and even when my children went, students were encouraged to reach out and expand their minds, we even got extra credit.  We were taught that that was the way people got ahead in the world.

If the teachers’ job and salary and the ranking of their school is dependent on how well his or her students perform on the assessment, who can blame them for “teaching to the test”?  Many fine teachers in this awful predicament are disheartened.  This was not why they chose a teaching career.  Few of them dare to speak up against Common Core because they need to provide for their families.

Common Core is and will be more far reaching and intrusive in our lives than any of us can foresee at the present time.  Loss of local control is frightening to me, not just in education, but particularly in education, because of the effect on the minds and hearts of our precious children, the future leaders of our Republic.

Can you please tell me, Senator, why an issue as important as almost completely changing our education system, did not come before the whole legislative body for discussion and debate– time and again?  Is not your opinion on this subject, vital as it is to each of us, as important as that of those on the Education Committee?  Were you not also elected to uphold Idaho conservative values?  You were probably as much in the dark about this as the rest of us; the more people in the dark about it, the more likely it was to be passed, and I think that was planned.

As Common Core is actually being implemented in the classroom and as more people are becoming aware of what this program really is, you will see it becoming more of an issue.

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”   -Abraham Lincoln

Since Common Core affects all Idahoans, I’m sending this letter to each of you legislators, with my earnest plea that you will consider the ramifications inherent in such power and control as this program gives “somebody”.

Sincerely,

 

Mrs. Yvonne Hyer

Nampa, Idaho

 

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Thank you to Yvonne Hyer.

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