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 books, white papers, think 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 University, Utahns 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.)
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.
#BillEvers for Secretary! #NeverRhee!
California just passed a bill to protect student privacy. I want to know why Utah hasn’t done the same thing. Those few Utah legislators who tried to pass privacy-protecting bills (Jake Anderegg, Brian Greene) were not supported by the majority of Utah politicans.
Do we not care about student privacy?
Is privacy not a child’s fundamental, Constitutional right?
What happens when there is no guarantee of basic rights? Think about how much privacy there is in modern day North Korea, or in China.
Privacy goes hand in hand with liberty, always. Even in the fiction books and movies –over and over again, the theme is spot on: when government knowledge of every citizen trumps individual privacy, then comes hell. (See The Giver, Divergent, Anthem, The Hunger Games, 1984.)
The Fourth Amendment says that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated”.
If the government is forbidden from coming into our homes to peruse our children’s coloring books, photo albums and diaries, why is it permitted to come into our schools to seize and read data gathered there? Do we even realize how much data is shared by schools with the state? Look here and here for starters.
Current tracking —without parental consent— of student academic, non-cognitive, behavioral, health, familial, attitudinal, and belief-data, is happening without restraint. Is this seizure of personal data not an unreasonable seizure of personal effects, forbidden Constitutionally?
It is clear that we must stand up for our children’s privacy rights. But how?
First, we must define in our Utah laws that student data belongs to the student. It does not belong to the state. Currently, the state has made the arrogant assumption that student data belongs to the state. That means tests, quizzes, homework assignments, and the picture the kindergartnener drew of her family which can easily be psychologically mined for student and family profiling. Since no student or student’s parent have given written consent to share any data generated by that student, the school has no right to hand it to the state database; the state has no right to hand it to corporate or university “research partners” nor to the federal EdFacts Data Exchange nor to the National Data Collection Model groups. That is data theft.
Knowledge is power. Learn, then contact your school board and legislature.
What to say? Ask them what they’ve done, what they know, what protective laws they can point you to.
Read the following brand new articles on this subject:
1. California Legislature Passes Stiffest Bill to Protect K-12 Students’ online data – San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/education/ci_26444107/online-privacy-california-passes-nations-stiffest-protections-k
2. States Collaborate to Keep Track of Students – Pew Charitable Trusts – http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2014/09/05/states-collaborate-to-keep-track-of-students
3. What Are Schools Doing With Your Kids’ Data – Yahoo Tech https://www.yahoo.com/tech/what-are-schools-doing-with-your-kids-data-95682103324.html
4. Nine Things You Can Do Right Now to Protect Your Kids’ Privacy at School – Yahoo Tech – https://www.yahoo.com/tech/9-things-you-can-do-right-now-to-protect-your-kids-95681803099.html
If you didn’t read them, or if you didn’t email your local school board or legislature yet, asking what they are doing to protect student privacy, I ask you why not.
If you think that our Constitutional rights are secure and that the good folks you elected are out there successfully defending your constitutional rights– including the right to personal and child privacy — think again. All these rights are under fire. If we don’t have proper legal protections in place specifying how student data will be protected, then we and our children are fully un-protected.
The New York Times and Time Magazine have openly attacked and mocked the Constitution– and the rights we claim under it which include, of course, privacy and freedom from seizure of these personal effects.
Freedom and local control and individual rights, these “cool” articles say, are out of data and out of style.
Check them out for yourself:
1 Time Magazine: http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2079445,00.html
2. New York Times: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/us/we-the-people-loses-appeal-with-people-around-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1
By the way, how I found those articles was when a parent emailed them to me, saying that her child was told to write about them for a school assignment. Thank you, education system, for yet one more corrupt dump into our kids’ minds.
What to do?
Ask yourself, first: is privacy a fundamental right, or not? Does the government (or corporations) have business knowing your business or your child’s business, without your consent? If the answer is no, then ask: Where can I find a law that protects my child’s school data? Ask your school board. Ask your legislator. If they say “FERPA” tell them to do their homework. Federal FERPA was shredded a few years back. Bottom line is: we need legal protections in place ASAP. And it won’t happen until the people pressure their representatives to make those protections reality.
Please, speak up.
Wouldn’t you love to hear the story –directly from an Oklahoma mom– of how a few Oklahoma parents influenced the governor and legislature to boot the entire Common Core out of Oklahoma?
Now you can! Clear your calendar: come hear the incredible Jenni White, from Restore Oklahoma Public Education, who will speak on Thursday, September 11th at 7679 South Main Street in Midvale, Utah at 7:00 PM.
The event is free and open to all.
Jenni White, mother and former teacher, has been involved in fighting the Common Core Agenda in Oklahoma for years. Jenni has been featured on Glenn Beck, Fox News and multiple national media outlets. See you there!