Archive for the ‘parent empowerment’ Tag

“User Profiling” by Department of Ed #StopSETRA   5 comments

stealth assessment baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

grit

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But none of that is any excuse.

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

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

Take action today.

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

 

Flashreport from Pacific Research Institute: On Common Core   Leave a comment

Reposted highlights from:

http://www.flashreport.org/featured-columns-library0b.php?faID=2012100907463885

ROMNEY BASHES OBAMA’S NATIONAL ED STANDARDS THAT DUMB DOWN CALIFORNIA MATH

by Lance T. Izumi

October 9, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown recently approved a new law that will eliminate algebra from California’s eighth-grade math standards.  While troubling, even more disturbing is the fact that this move is dictated by Sacramento’s adoption of less rigorous national standards supported by President Obama.

Thankfully, in the first presidential debate and in recent interviews, it’s clear that Mitt Romney realizes what Barack Obama can’t seem to fathom: the federal government is not the nation’s school board.
SB 1200, which Gov. Brown just signed, says that the state Board of Education shall ensure “One set of standards is adopted at each grade level.”  Those standards will be the Obama-backed national standards.  As education journalist John Fensterwald points out, the law will remove California’s algebra requirement and “will leave [the national] Common Core pre-algebra standards as the default course for eighth grade.”

Why did California opt for the lower national standards?

In the debate, President Obama touted his Race to the Top grant program, which requires applying states to implement the national standards.  California applied for a grant, didn’t win one, but was still stuck with Obama’s standards…
In an interview with NBC News prior to the debate, Romney said, “I don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common core on various states.”  Why are national standards dangerous?  Chief among the reasons is that they will lead to a national curriculum.


As California’s experience proves, changing over to a national-standards system will affect what’s being taught in every classroom.  According to Fensterwald, “Last year, about two-thirds of California students had taken Algebra 1 by the eighth grade.”  Now, because the national standards will change the state’s math curriculum, relatively few students will likely take algebra in the eighth grade.
Romney says that for the Obama administration “to financially reward states based upon accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake.”  Specifically, Romney says that he worries about the federal government promoting an agenda through national standards, tests and curricula.  For the Obama administration, its agenda neatly coincides with the agenda of the teacher unions.


The American Federation of Teachers is a longtime supporter of national standards and its members helped write the Obama-supported standards.  In legislative testimony, Stanford University math professor James Milgram, who served on an advisory committee for the national standards, said that special-interest groups, like the unions, “were mainly focused on things like making the standards as non-challenging as possible.”  He said that the national math standards “are written to reflect very low expectations.”

Obama and his union allies have triumphed by overturning California’s rigorous state standards.

During the debate, Romney articulated a very different strategy that would empower, not special interests, but parents.  Rather than a top-down Washington-centric approach, Romney proposed attaching federal funds, such as Title I money for disadvantaged children, directly to students.  These dollars would “follow the child and let the parent decide where to send their student” and allow children “to go to the school of their choice”, where school-choice programs have been enacted.

When asked by debate moderator Jim Lehrer about the federal government’s role in education, President Obama said, “I think that it has a significant role to play.”

Indeed, his nationalization of education has already altered and distorted math education in California.  In contrast, Mitt Romney envisions more local control and more parental choice.

It is now up to Americans to decide which future they want for their children.

___________________________________________________
Lance T. Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education  Studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRI), California’s premier free-market public-policy think tank based in  San Francisco.

The Need for Parental Empowerment in Education: From Renee Braddy   8 comments

The comments and stories below were written by Renee Braddy (dark hair, the mom the middle of the three moms photo above)

   “Last year I was at my daughter’s elementary school when I overheard a conversation between a family and the principal.  This family’s kindergarten son had qualified for all-day kindergarten.  And, let me say that qualifying for this so called service of all-day kindergarten is a JOKE!!!  I cannot emphasize that enough.  I watched and listened carefully as my daughter was administered the same test.  I was actually asked by the teacher administering the test to wait in the hall while the test was given.  As a former teacher who is greatly opposed to parents being left in the dark and as an involved and curious parent, I requested that I be allowed to just sit in the corner.  Pathetic!

This boy was from a family that I’m assuming spoke English as their second language.  I heard the father translating questions from the mother to the principal.  The first question was, “what time will he have lunch?”

The next question was, “how long does his lunch last?”

The last question that I heard was the father asking, “Can his mother come and get him from school to bring him home to have lunch with her?”

It broke my heart.  Here were parents who wanted to have their child home and yet felt obligated to have him in school all-day based on a very poor assessment.  I could tell that they sincerely wanted to do what was best for him.

   I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “don’t do it!  You DON’T HAVE TO SEND HIM TO SCHOOL ALL DAY!  You are his parents and YOU can offer him SO MUCH MORE.”

The hardest part for me was the end of the conversation when the principal answered the question about whether or not this boy’s mother would be allowed to have her son come home for lunch each day.  The principal seemed perplexed and stammered for a minute and then said, “well, ummmm, you are the first person that has EVER asked me that.”  He then thought for a bit longer and said, “I think we could probably arrange for that to happen.”

I couldn’t help but think, “Are you kidding me?  Why do parents have to ask for permission to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child?  Do we even understand that we have choices and that we are not obligated to send our children to all-day kindergarten or to school at all?”

   Have we really come this far in society that we don’t understand that we are the parents and we as such God has given us stewardship over our children?

2.      I have a nephew that didn’t speak a word until after his fourth birthday.  He would have easily qualified for government funded preschool.  Fortunately, he was the fifth child and his parents had gained experience and wisdom.  His mother kept him home with her and taught him and worked with him and when he began to finally speak, he spoke in full sentences and is now in 4thgrade and  at the top of his class.

I have a friend who does very well financially and her daughter qualified for government funded preschool at the age of two because she didn’t speak.  I said to her,“are you kidding me, wouldn’t that be every 2 year old?”

She said, “I know, I just figured that if they were offering the service, I would take advantage of it, then I wouldn’t have to get a babysitter while I go to the gym.”

Unfortunately, this is the mentality of far too many parents.  We have come to not only accept these so-called services, but many actually expect them.

I am sure you are hearing from very qualified well-intentioned individuals who are so-called experts in educating children.  I know because many of them were my professors and colleagues when I taught school.  I was shocked when I saw Dr. Nancy Livingston, whom was one of my BYU professors at BYU testifying to the importance of the state board adopting preschool standards.

Although, I have respect for these individuals, I do not think they have a deep appreciation for freedom and liberty.  When I went to talk to my former principal in Provo about concerns that I have with Common Core, she asked me what I was really concerned about.  I told her that I believe we are heading down a path towards socialism.

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “like Canada and Australia”.  She wasn’t concerned.

I then said, “I am worried that if we can nationalize education and make all the standards common, what’s keeping us from mandating equal funding to education?”

She said, “I would love that, wouldn’t that be great!”

I asked her, “Where will the money come from?”

She said, “I don’t know, but wouldn’t that be great, I would just love to have the resources that other states have.”

I was blown away and had to excuse myself as I knew we were too philosophically unaligned to have any further meaningful discussion on the matter.

In my opinion, we need to give the responsibility of being a parent back to the parents.  I believe that this would be the best service and gift that we could give to children.

I would love to talk to you further about this.  Again, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I DO NOT believe the statement, “those that start behind, stay behind.”  THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE!

Children are not machines or robots, they are individuals and their needs vary.  We cannot put them into these so-called High Quality Preschools with a ratio of 1:10 or 1:20 and expect to solve society’s problems.”

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –  –

Thank you, Renee.

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