Archive for the ‘Rep. Mia Love’ Tag

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.

 

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A Titanic NO on Twin Ed Bills – Children Deserve Better Than HR5 and S1177   9 comments

titanic

 

 

You can’t stick corks into the side of the Titanic to save the people on the ship, and you can’t stick amendments into evil bills and then in good conscience vote yes on them. We are building and voting for our own children’s cages in the belly of a sinking ship.

Read the current ed reform bill amendments here; some are dancing about the Zeldin amendment  because it “allows” states to opt out of Common Core. STATES ALREADY CAN do that.  The point is that the feds bribe states not to, and states don’t.  Then the feds push out data systems that nobody is smart enough to not build.

If I sound a little bit angry, that’s because I am typing.  If you were here in the room you would want earplugs.  I am very angry, very disappointed.  Very loud inside my own little furious head and home.

I’m speaking about the twin bills in the House and Senate to be voted on; one today, HR5 which we all shot down in April; the other bill, S1177, will get a vote soon.

See American Principles Project’s excellent, short pdf (with references) on HR5 here;  the their pdf on S.1177 here.

I know I’m not smarter than my senators and representatives.  I can read, and so can they.  So why, why, why are they NOT telling we, the people, who call their offices that they are unequivocally voting NO on these bad twin ed reform bills, HR5 and S1177?  I have to assume that the represenatives are not studying these 300, 600, 800 page monsters; that they are relying on the talking points of the bill’s authors.  If so, the reps are revealing dangerous  incompetence–   carelessness with our precious liberty and our precious children.

I do realize that our representatives are busy.  But these are dire circumstances that affect children so negatively.  We elected and pay these friends.  We entrust them with the futures of our public school children.  Yet, I don’t know if I believe they are reading the bills.  Orrin Hatch is promoting S1177.  But I’m concerned about the entire Utah delegation of senators and representatives -and many others outside Utah.

In what universe is it okay for a senator or a representative to vote yes on a bill that does what HR 5 does?**   It:

  • Cements the unconstutitional Fed Master- State Servant relationship
  • Attacks parental opt out movement – kills parental opt out rights
  • Hacks off religious freedom and autonomy for any private schools that receive federal dollars for any of their programs
  • Pretends that federal FERPA hasn’t been shot full of holes and depends on FERPA for privacy rights (what privacy rights?)
  • Fails to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifiable data
  • Creates unelected committees that have real power over state citizens who did not elect them
  • Fails to provide enforcement for autonomy which means there won’t be any state autonomy
  • Extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschoolers
  • Reinforces socialist alignment of schools to workforce, putting economy first without regard for students
  • Retains federal testing mandates
  • Promotes psychological profiling of students

**Below, I am posting section numbers for the reference of those who want to see the language with their own eyes.

 

In what universe is it okay for a senator or a representative to vote yes on a bill that does what S1177 does?***

  • Pretends to protect us from federal overreach with redundant, nonhelpful language
  • Aligns us to “college and career ready” standard which ARE Common Core, federally defined elsewhere
  • Cements the unconstutitional Fed Master- State Servant relationship
  • Mandates that States answer to the Feds even on altering state standards
  • Retains federal testing mandates
  • Adds to the list of programs a state must consult and aligns with workforce (socialism) program
  • Dictates types of testing
  • Forces out the parental opt out movement
  • Narrows the definition of “mental health” and “school climate” that reduces student religious and political expression
  • Probes into psychological data collection on children without parental consent
  • Fails to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifiable data
  • Extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschool

***Below, I am posting section numbers for the reference of those who want to see the language with their own eyes.

The list could go on and on and on.

I don’t get it.  I really do not understand these politicians.  I really do not.

Our children deserve better.  So much better!

I’ll be wasting spending time and breath all day today, again, calling 202-224-3121 to get my senators’ and reps’ attention.  Feel free to join me.  Even though it feels like we are sticking corks into the side of the Titanic.  May God help us.

titanic side

—————————-

“THE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT”

**HR5 section numbers for reference:

  • Master and Servant unconstitutional relationship in cement:

“For any State desiring to receive a grant under this subpart, the State educational agency file with the Secretary a plan,” “Each State plan shall demonstrate [to the federal agents]” – 1111(a)1 –

“Approval: The Secretary shall approve a State plan within 120 days of its submission; disapprove of the State plan only if the Secretary demonstrates how the State plan fails” – 1111(e)1B

“The Secretary [federal] shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” – 1111(e)2 D

“If a State makes significant changes to its State plan, such as the adoption of new State academic standards or new academic assessments, or adopts a new State accountability system, such information shall be submitted to the Secretary under subsection (e)(2) for approval.” – 1111 (f)

“If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section then the Secretary shall withhold funds” – 1111(g)

  • Attack on parental rights via stopping opt out movement:

“Assessments shall… be administered to not less than 95 percent of all students, and not less than 95 percent of each subgroup of students”- 1111(b)(2)(B)(xiii)

 

  • Hacking off religious freedom and autonomy for any private school receiving any federal dollars for programs:

“The control of funds provided under this subpart, and title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with such funds, shall be in a public agency, and a public agency shall administer such funds, materials, equipment, and property…  independent of such private school and of any religious organization.” 1120(d)(2)(B)

  •  Pretending that federal FERPA hasn’t been shot full of holes and depending on FERPA for privacy rights (what privacy rights?)

“Information collected under this section shall be collected and disseminated in a manner that protects the privacy of individuals consistent with section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act and this Act.” – 1111(i)  For more on FERPA’s deliberate loosening (destruction) by the Dept. of Ed, see the E.P.I.C. lawsuit.

  • Failing to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifable information

Nada.  Do a word search for “SLDS” or “State Longitudinal Database Systems” or “SIF” or “CEDS” and you will find nothing.  There is no protection.  There is no informed consent.  There is no parental-consent requirement–  not here and not in FERPA.

  • Creating unelected committees that have real power over state citizens who did not elect them. (And using these unelected groups to eliminate policies that don’t match federal policies)

“State rules, regulations, and policies… conform to… the committee of practitioners”

“Each State educational agency that receives funds under this title shall create a State committee of practitioners”

“Eliminate the rules and regulations that are duplicative of Federal requirements… identify any duplicative or contrasting requirements between the State and Federal rules or regulations; report any conflicting requirements to the Secretary… (1403)

  • Failing to provide enforcement for autonomy which means there won’t be any state autonomy from the feds.

State autonomy is in no way enforceable by HR5.  It’s not in there.  That is the problem.  It’s just talking points about state’s rights, with no support.

  • Extending federal tentacles and data collection to preschoolers.

“perform child-find screening services for the preschool-aged children of the tribe” – 5133 a

“assessment of  family-based, early childhood, and preschool programs for Native Hawaiians” – 5304 (c) 2

“evaluate the aggregate short- and long-term effects and cost efficiencies across Federal programs… under this Act and related Federal preschool, elementary, and secondary programs”  – 6601

 “improve the identification of homeless children (including preschool-aged homeless children and youths) ” – 702

“Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children and Youths established in each State shall— gather and make publically available… comprehensive information on— the number of homeless children and youths identified… the nature and extent of the problems homeless children and youths have in gaining access to public preschool programs” – 702

collect data for and transmit to the Secretary, at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require, a report containing information necessary to assess the educational needs of homeless children and youths within the State, including data necessary for the Secretary to fulfill the responsibilities… including teachers, special education personnel, administrators, and child development and preschool program personnel – 702

“Plans required:  … how the local educational agency will use funds under this subpart to support preschool programs”  – 1112

  • Reinforcing socialist alignment of schools to workforce, putting economy first without regard for students

“Each State plan shall demonstrate [to the feds] that the State has developed and is implementing a single, statewide accountability system to ensure that all public school students graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce” -1111  (This is repeated and repeated. A word search for “workforce” turns up 22 times in this bill.)

  • Retaining federal testing mandates

“Academic assessments… shall—  be used in determining the performance of each local educational agency and public school… be aligned with the State’s academic standards and provide coherent and timely information about student attainment of such standards… be consistent with… nationally recognized… technical standards… be administered in each of grades 3 through 8 and at least once in grades 9 through 12… in the case of science, be administered not less than one time during—grades 3 through 5;  grades 6 through 9; and in the case of any other subject chosen by the State, be administered at the discretion of the State; measure individual student academic proficiency and, at the State’s discretion, growth…  be administered through multiple assessments during the course of the academic year that result in a single summative score that provides valid, reliable, and transparent information on student achievement … enable results to be disaggregated… be administered to not less than 95 percent of all students, and not less than 95 percent of each subgroup of students described in paragraph (3)(B)(ii)(II); and be the same academic assessments used to measure the academic achievement of all public school students… provide for— the participation in such assessments of all students… produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports regarding achievement on such assessments in … uniform format…” –1111

  • Promoting psychological profiling of students 

“Assessments … (xi) “produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports regarding achievement on such assessments” -1111

As American Principles in Action pointed out, “HR5 does nothing to stop NAEP from implementing its planned and unconstitutional affective probing of students’ “mindsets,” “grit,” or other psychological traits.  (To see the Dept. of Education’s recommendation that schools engage in psychological and biometric profiling, read its report here, especially page 44.)

 cry

“THE EVERY CHILD ACHIEVES ACT”

***S1177 section numbers for reference: 

  • Pretending to protect states and parents from federal overreach using redundant, nonhelpful (and contradictory) language

First the bill raises our hopes; the talking points sound good; maybe this won’t be a federal sledgehammer to parents and states.  The bill’s sections 5001-5010 (a large chunk of the very large bill)  even go under the title “Empowering Parents and Expanding Opportunity Through Innovation”.  Sounds nice.  But deep inside, the bill almost conceals ugly and unconstitutional words like this:

“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004

“If the Secretary determines that a State plan does not meet the requirements of this subsection or subsection (b) or (c), the Secretary shall, prior to declining to approve the State plan immediately notify the State of such determination… offer the State an opportunity to revise” –1111

“A State educational agency may use not more than 5 percent of the amount made available to the State… for the following activities…”

“Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be college and career ready” -2501(4)    (Making everyone common does tend to close the achievement gaps, by slowing those who would otherwise soar ahead of the mediocre and the slow.)

  • Cementing the unconstitutional Fed-Master/State-Servant relationship

“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004

“For any State desiring to receive a grant under this part, the State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary a plan…” – 1111

  • Retaining federal testing and standards mandates

“Same standards: … standards required by subparagraph (A) shall be the same standards that the State applies to all public schools and public school students” –1111   (Do you want to give the feds the authority to dictate uniformity to us?  What if a state wants to be innovative and diverse and various? That won’t be allowed by this federal law.)

“Alignment: Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging State academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements, without the need for academic remediation, for the system of public higher education in the State; relevant State career and technical education standards; and relevant State early learning guidelines” –1111

“Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204

“Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205

  • Adding to the list of programs States must consult, and aligning with workforce socialism program

“(aa) student readiness to enter postsecondary education or the workforce” -1111  (repeated many times)

“an application … shall include the following: A description of… assets, identified by the State… which shall include— an analysis of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education quality and outcomes in the State…  labor market information regarding the industry and business workforce needs within the State….”  –2504

  • Dictating types of testing– including using nonacademic, interpretive, and diagnostic student reports

“produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports…  include information regarding achievement on academic assessments aligned with challenging State academic achievement standards… in  uniform format” –1111(b) (2) (B) (vi) (xiii)

“(vi) involve multiple up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, including measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding, which may include measures of student academic growth and may be partially delivered in the form of portfolios, projects, or extended performance tasks” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (vi)

Assessments must  “be administered through a single summative assessment; or be administered through multiple statewide assessments during the course of the year if the State can demonstrate that the results of these multiple assessments, taken in their totality, provide a summative score” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (viii)

“(xiii) be developed, to the extent practicable, using the principles of universal design for learning.” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (xiii)

 

  • Forcing out the parental opt-out movement; also, booting family out and putting government in to the center of the universe.

Crushing opt outs, each state test must “Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204

Same:  “Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205

Schools to be far, far more than places to learn numeracy and literacy:  “21st Century Learning Centers… an array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, physical fitness and wellness programs, technology education programs, financial literacy programs, math, science, career and technical programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, and other ties to an in-demand industry sector” – 4201

“address family instability, school climate, trauma, safety, and nonacademic learning.”  -7304

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