Archive for the ‘USPIe’ Tag

Public Comments to Federal CEP: No Federal Unit Tracking!   Leave a comment

us_congress_02

 

First the good news:

Check out the hundreds of comments written in response to the invitation to submit commentary to the federal CEP.  You will find an overwhelming number who do not want the federal government to create federal unit tracking for individuals.

Notable pro-privacy comments  came from moms and dads and teachers, from the Future of Privacy Forum, the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, the American Civil Liberties Union,  United States Parents Involved in Education, The Electronic Privacy Information Center, the American Principles Project, and many others.

(There are small and big groups who proclaim that creating a federal unit tracking system is a great idea, for various (less vital) reasons.  Privacy, schmivacy, they say:  just overturn the student record ban.  Bill Gates.  The U.N.    There’s one group that calls itself “The Young Invincibles” that released a  Student Agenda for Postsecondary Data Reform calling for collecting data on all students directly to the federal level.)

FYI, this fight– for and against removing privacy rights– is not new.  Three years ago, privacy-enders were, for various reasons, pushing for a bill (Senator Rubio’s and Senator Warner’s) that would have done exactly what the CEP is aiming to do right now.  See this 2013 article on what Bill Gates’ think tanks and Rubio/Warner had planned.

Some now wonder if the federal CEP commission will try to hijack well-intentioned bills, such as Rep. Mia Love’s Know Before You Go bill, in order to achieve their privacy-ending scheme.

Here’s the  bad news:

Even though there were SO many comments given to the CEP commission stating, like this classic:  “Our personal information is not for your use. Keep your hands off of it.  This is just plain wrong.  Stop it.”  –Still, public comments are only public comments.  There is nothing in the law that created the CEP commission (less than a year ago, CEP was created by Paul Ryan and company) that states that the CEP has to respect the wishes of the people who send in public comments.  That’s what happens when you allow appointees to run the show.  The public has no actual recourse, no voting power, when it hates how this appointee-driven show is being run.

So tell your senators and reps.

They do have power.

And privacy is huge.  It’s basic to American freedom.  Remember that part in the fourth amendment to the Constitution about being safe from intrusion in our papers and personal effects?

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fifth Amendment further protects property (and privacy):

“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Do something small.  Write one letter.  Make one  phone call.  Tell your representatives that you expect them to represent your will on this.  We have to defend our rights; no one else cares if we don’t care.

 

 

 

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Recurring Nightmare – Action Needed- Sign Federal Public Comment Form by Sept 9   9 comments


rttt 2

 

Like a recurring nightmare, Race to the Top 2.0 is here.

Race to the Top #1 is an ugly story from 2009 that some Americans might not know.  Picture the Federal Department of Money riding in a buggy, driven by the Secretary of Education.  There are 50 horses (taxpaying states) pulling his load, and 5o sticks (RTTT grants and data systems) with 5o carrots (RTTT monies) dangling in front of each horse.  Carved into each carrot is the word “Race to the Top” to make the horses feel noble, and not embarrassed about so lustily chasing the cashcarrots, because the horses can then say that they only chased the cashcarrots to improve education.

But it was never, ever about improving education.  It was about implementing a labeling system for individuals, lifelong (with State-federal-corporate data tags) and it was about  controlling education from the top.   Regardless of what we are now calling Common Core (“Challenging State Academic Standards” is ESSA’s latest name) –it was the common data tags and systems that  married corporate greed to the federal power agenda by labeling individuals, tests and digital curricula uniformly, and nationwide (CEDS).

Race to the Top 1.0 dangled huge money lures in front of state education departments.  If the state boards of education took the bait, they might or might not ever see the cash, but the buggy drivers (feds) had successfully lured all the states into driving in the direction they wanted them to drive– and they only had to give out the money to a few “winners”.  (Utah was not a RTTT grant winner).

Where did they drive the states? In the direction of big “Fed Ed” –by signing on to Common Core standards, Common Educational Data Standards, State Longitudinal Database Systems, aligned tests and more.)

Now, United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) reports, we have to stop Race to the Top 2.0.

It isn’t called 2.0 by the feds, but instead is called the ridiculous title of:  The Elementary and Secondary Education Act as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority.  

What a name.  The anachronym would be TEASEAAABTESSAIADA.

Just call it  2.0.

It’s like the first Race to the Top  in its federal bribery, coercion, and control grabbing from states.

  • Like Race to the Top 1.0, it increases data mining of children without parental consent. 2.0 requires federal study of children’s data by peer reviewers including psychometricians and requires states to “collaborate” with federal data mining agents at the Institute of Educational Sciences.
  •  Like 1.0, it pushes federally aligned tests, but this time, states are encouraged to get away from parent-opt-out-able standardized tests by using other systems:  “an array of innovative assessments” which will likely mean stealth/gaming assessment.
  • Like 1.0, cements Common Core Standards but under the new name of “challenging State academic standards,” which are, of course, still aligned to the federal-corporate common data tags.
  • Like 1.0, it cements the use of student tracking and labeling via common data tags (CEDS).
  • And, as if federally aligned education was not “Big Brother” enough, it also promotes globally aligned education and data standards  and asks states to continue to use the  “Universal Design for Learning.
#ReinInTheKing

#ReinInTheKing

In USPIE’s recent blog post, we read more about these federally proposed regulations which must be commented upon LOUDLY AND FIRMLY by citizens, teachers, and legislators.   The deadline is September 9th for comment and that commenting link is here:

https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ED-2016-OESE-0047-0001:

Before you comment, you could read this summary –provided by USPIE parents:  (footnotes documentation also below.)

“The following are specific areas in which the proposed regulations are egregious in their attempts to impose a common, Federal education system, stripping parents and SEAs of what little local control of education remains, and in many ways contradicts and undermines the law in which they are intended to provide guidance.

PROPOSED 200.76:

  • Clarifies that any innovative assessment design can be used as long as it meets the Department’s requirements and is aligned to the State’s “challenging academic standards.”

NOTE: In other words, only assessment designs aligned to Common Core and approved by the Department can be used. This is contrary to the meaning of “innovation,” and flies in the face of ESSA prohibitions.

  • Gives States “flexibility” by allowing them to choose computer-adaptive statewide tests, so long as they align to “challenging State academic standards,” and are approved by the Department.

NOTE: This gives the illusion of flexibility while still ensuring States’ assessment systems align to the Common Core State Standards. Furthermore, since 2013 countless computerized testing malfunctions have been recorded leaving invalid results and wasted classroom time.1

  • Requires applications to be peer reviewed to help the Secretary of Education determine whether an applicant will be able to successfully meet the requirements. The peer review panels will include “psychometricians” (psychometrics is the modeling of test taker responses (behavior) in response to items (situations),2“measurement experts,” and “researchers.”

NOTE: These peer review panel members will collect data on children’s behaviors while testing, which is well beyond the scope of assessing a child’s knowledge…

  • Requires applications to include a description of how a State’s innovative assessment demonstration will align to” challenging State academic standards.” NOTE: The Department is requiring States to align to the subpar Common Core State Standards in order to receive funding. Parents are not fooled by the rebranding.

 

PROPOSED 200.77:

  • Requires a State Educational Agency to prove it has collaborated with “experts” including the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the lead Federal agency in charge of data collection, and in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative assessments.

NOTE: The entire mission of IES is to collect data on America’s school children and share it.3

  • Requires State Educational Agencies (SEAs) or consortia to ensure assessments are “accessible for all students including children with disabilities and English learners. An SEA may also incorporate the principles of Universal Design for Learning in developing its innovative assessments.”4

NOTE: Universal Design for Learning uses computerized assessment programs to track a child’s brain function.5

 

PROPOSED 200.78:

  • Is aligned with the principles of President Obama’s Testing Action Plan, as is much of the proposed regulations. The criterion of the President’s plan will help SEAs or consortiums to develop “an array of innovative assessments so that we may learn from a variety of models rather than establish a preference for one particular approach.”6

NOTE: Obama’s Testing Action Plan states that there are “other means” of measuring a student’s performance alongside assessments such as school assignments, portfolios, student surveys, school climate, etc. This will certainly encourage more surveys given in schools and lead to more data mining.7

  • Clarifies the selection criteria the Secretary will use to evaluate an application and permit the Secretary to provide Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority to an SEA or consortia of SEAs.

NOTE: Under ESSA, the federal government is prohibited from funding the development of assessments. 8

  • Requires SEAs to ensure that each Local Education Agency (LEA) has the technological infrastructure to implement the [aligned] testing system.

NOTE: This requirement will incentivize increased State spending in order to compete to receive Federal funds.  Very few states have the necessary technology9 to support the federally designed testing system, and ESSA prohibits the Federal Government from mandating “… a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.”10

  • Requires an SEA or each SEA in the consortium to annually report to the Secretary updates on the implementation of the innovative assessments. Definitions of innovative assessments may include: “cumulative year-end assessments, competency-based assessments, instructionally embedded assessments, interim assessments, or performance and technology-based assessments.”

NOTE: These types of assessments are based on the mastery/competency/performance based education model or blended learning where children will be assessed and data mined all day long electronically and through projects.11  The federal government is incentivizing states to implement computer adaptive, nationally-aligned assessments and education models through a pilot grant. This is all prohibited in ESSA.12

  • Requires States, for selection purposes, to include continuous improvement process assurances for “developing or improving balanced assessment systems that include summative, interim, and formative assessments, including supporting local educational agencies in developing or improving such assessments.”13

NOTE: Testing consortia providers such as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium offer a complete assessment kit including formative (daily classroom testing tools through their digital library of computerized learning video games, etc.), interim, and summative assessments. As these new pervasive testing systems are incentivized by Federal funding, the potential of data mining will be expanded to all day long, every school day. As testing evolves into a daily activity embedded in the curriculum, the opt-out movement will die, and parents will lose more authority over their children’s education.

 

PROPOSED 200.79:

  • Requires States and consortia to annually measure the progress on the Academic Achievement indicator of at least 95% of all students.

NOTE: Under ESSA, States are still obligated to the 95% participation rate of the burdensome NCLB, but with even more restrictions as opt-outs are added into the rate and with punitive actions taken against schools with low participation rates.14

  • States an SEA may use their innovative assessment system for purposes of academic assessments and statewide accountability only after the Secretary determines whether an SEA’s innovative assessment system is of high quality.

NOTE: “No State shall be required to have academic standards approved or certified by the Federal Government in order to receive assistance under this Act” (ESSA).15

 

Works Cited

1   Computerized Testing Problems- Chronology:

http://fairtest.org/computerized-testing-problems-chronology

2 Improving Assessment: The Intersection of Psychology and Psychometrics:

(P. 4) http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/RM-08-15.pdf

3 Institute of Education Sciences, Connecting Research, Policy and Practice:

https://ies.ed.gov/aboutus/

4 Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority; Proposed Rule: P. 44962

5 National Center on Universal Design for Learning, The Three Principles of UDL:

http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/whatisudl/3principles

6 Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority; Proposed Rule: P. 44967

7 U.S. Department of Education- October 24, 2015, Fact Sheet: Testing Action Plan:  http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-testing-action-plan

8 ESSA SEC. 8549A (a)(1); p. 865

9 “Are schools “tech-ready” for the Common Core Standards?”http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/technology-ready-for-the-common-core-tests/

10 ESSA SEC. 8549A (a)(1); p. 865

11 ESSA SEC. 1201 (2)(L); p. 209   

12 ESSA SEC. 8549A (a) and (b); pp. 865-866

13 ESSA SEC. 1201 (2)(F); p. 207

14 ESSA SEC. 1111 (4)(E); pp.87-88

15 ESSA SEC. 8527 (d)(1); p. 845-846


Thanks to USPIE parents !

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Inspiration From Houston’s #AboutTheChild Conference   Leave a comment

At the #AboutTheChild conference in Houston last week, B&L Network speakers said that even in the middle of a struggle we might seem to be losing, we have great power and great hope.

Although America is seeing dangerous shifts in who can and who cannot amend tests, in who controls (and does not protect) children’s data;  in who gets to redefine even babies’ “educations” as a collective-economy-purposed thing; while we see corporate and federal “central planners” ram initiatives without a vote to assume “stakeholder” rights over our little ones– even in this awful situation, we can defend children’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happy education; that is, time-tested, soul-enlarging, non-Common Core education.

I cannot do the conference justice briefly, yet I want to try. A few moments that stood out came from these speeches:

Troy

 

1          Troy Towns, an Alabama minister and political activist, spoke about the numbers of people who should be actively involved in the fight against Common Core and other false reforms.  He retold the story of Gideon in the Old Testament.  Not only did it not bother the Lord that Gideon was vastly outnumbered; the Lord told Gideon to reduce his numbers, by sending away all warriors who were fearful.  Then the Lord instructed Gideon further, to send away all those who were not alert to the enemy while drinking at the stream.  Reduced to 300 people, surrounded by countless armies, the Lord then led Gideon’s group to victory…  It’s not about numbers.  It’s not about who appears to be winning in the moment.  It is about who is on the side of true and honorable principles.

 

daisy

 

2.         Daisy Whisenant, Texas advisor in the Christian Educators Association International, a Christian teacher’s union,  implored listeners to let teachers and students know the truth about “separation between Church and State”.  That idea is designed to prevent governments from promoting one religion above another, while upholding all religions’ freedom of speech.  It is not designed to shut down religious discussions.  A teacher is a government employee, but a child is not.  Nongovernmental citizens (students of all ages) may speak and write freely about their religious beliefs.   For more information, visit CEAI.

hoyt

 

3.      Jason Hoyt, Florida radio personality and author, discussed what “Consent of the Governed” means.  The concept is also the title of his book.  (Click here to find the book Consent of the Governed. )  I read it on my trip home. It teaches the history of local, state, and federal grand juries, and outlines the disintegration of that constitutional authority, which serves –or should serve– as a fourth branch and a check on the other three branches.  The book shows that if “We the People” reclaim proper controls of our grand juries, we can reclaim vital, lost political power –more effectively than if we rely only on elections as the means to enforce fair government.

Angelique

4.      Angelique Clark, a Las Vegas high school student, spoke about the stand she took and the fight that ensued as she founded a pro-life group for teen activists.  When her application for a high school pro-life club was denied, Angelique fought for her First Amendment rights inside a school, with a lawsuit to the school district that finally allowed her to form the pro-life club.  She won.  Her story has been seen on Fox & Friends, On the Record with Greta, Fox, Bill O’Reilly, and elsewhere.

karen

5.      Dr. Karen Effrem, a pediatrician, author and researcher, a leader of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition and of Education Liberty Watch, spoke about the amount of data being collected on every public school student in the nation without parental knowledge or consent; about the psychological and belief data-gathering goals outlined in the US Department of Education’s “Developing Grit, Tenacity and Persistance” Report; about the unfortunate, newly passed, Every Student Succeeds Act; and about the monster on the horizon, the “Strengthening Education Through Research Act“.  Her presentation should be seen by every member of the U.S. Congress.

peg

6.     Dr. Peg Luksik, a former reform evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education, a lifelong teacher, speaker, and honoree by multiple U.S. Presidents, spoke about the idea of common standards.  She asked the audience if there was such a thing as good standards, and answered her question:  no.  There is no such thing as a good set of standards because every child is so different.  She has a child who is a math genius, who cannot do ballet.  She has a daughter who is a ballet genius, who cannot do math.  She asked:  where would the proper, common standard be for those two children?  The idea of top-down decision making for teachers and students is ridiculous.  She said that years ago, “Outcome Based Education” was pushed on the nation, and was defeated by a handful of level-headed patriots.  Common Core and its related initiatives are the same thing, repackaged.  Those who would be central planners of all children’s lives must be defeated again.

duke

7.      Dr. Duke Pesta, an energetic literature professor and administrator at Freedom Project Academy, spoke about the devious history of the Common Core Initiative, up to its promoters’ most recent coup against liberty, the Every Student Succeeds Act.  He emphasized the words of Arne Duncan about the Every Student Succeeds Act, and pointed out that even trusted Republican leadership betrayed liberty with ESSA. We must be smarter and faster in overturning the deceptions of this fight.  (FYI, Utahns: rumor has it that Dr. Pesta will be speaking in Utah this April.)

neil

8.      Neil Mammen, a minister and activist at NoBlindFaith.com (author of 40 Days to a More Godly Nation and Jesus Is Involved in Politics: Why Aren’t You?) echoed the message given by Troy Towns (about Gideon and the numbers-of-warriors issue, above) as he spoke about the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V.  In the scene, when Westmoreland laments not having ten thousand more men to help them fight, the king responds:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.   (Read the whole speech.)

joan

9.     Joan Landes,  a Utah therapist, crystallized the issue when she said that the problem with government initiatives like Common Core and its web of tests and controls is that it hurts human relationships.  Her presentation about reversing Saul Alinsky’s evil tactics, and her idea of asking every concerned citizen to spend five minutes or five dollars as often as they can, were truly remarkable.

I spoke, too.  The heart of my speech, “Reclaiming Parental Power” came from a realization I had a few nights before the conference, as I thought about the awful situation that is U.S. Education Reform today.  As I wondered how we can keep going in the face of losing, losing, and losing (Common Core is still here; Common Education Standards and Longitudinal Databases are still here; the ESSA federal law makes things so much less free; and SETRA may soon make them even worse) –I had a clear thought:  HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH A MOM IN CHINA– or a mom in any socialist/communist nation, for that matter?  You would have no freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom to publish, freedom to work to repeal bad laws.  You hardly have freedom to think, in China.  A lover of freedom living in China, loving her children, would give her arms or legs to have the opportunity to face the problems that we face.  Arms and legs.

The glass will always be half full– never half empty–  as long as there is a person left in America who remembers the words and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.

Freedom is always worth the fight.

Children will always be the reason.

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This blog post is a partial, inadequate sampling that has not included many additional, wonderful  speakers at the conference.  Every speaker (see biographies and speaker list here) –was moving.

If you missed the conference and the livestream, you can still watch it as part of a package deal with B&L*  Network by purchasing a B&L year membership here.  I’m advertising it because:

The conference speakers were an inspiration, and their words need to be heard far and wide, as do the messages from United States Parents In Education (USPIE) which held a press conference as part of this conference, rolling out a campaign to #StopFedEd.   Also, importantly, consider this: the conference organizer was Alabama homemaker and radio show host Diana Crews, who, with her sweet husband, a professional trucker, went into debt to make this conference happen.  If nobody  watches, she stays in debt.  This was her sacrifice because she believes in making this issue About The Child.  It’s not about the “global economy” or the “school to workforce pipeline” or about “human capital”.  It is about the child.

To support B&L, click here.

* (If you want to know what B & L stands for– and I asked, and was so glad I did– it’s Bears and Lord; as in, Mama & Papa Bears and their Lord).

 

 

 

How To Stand Up: UT Citizens Have Means to Influence Ed Policy   3 comments

ACTION FOR TODAY

WEBSITE LAUNCHED

Joan Landes of Utah has launched ActionforToday.Wordpress.Com, a site where you can spend five minutes or five dollars to make a difference.  If you become aware of a pressing need that could use some grassroots awareness, post it in the comments section and the site administrator will read and  post it.

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2016 UACC BILL TRACKER

LAUNCHED

The Utah legislature meets for its yearly session now.  The session is only a few weeks long.  Bills will pass or not pass, right now.

On the Utahns Against Common Core (UACC) website, there is now a bill tracker built in.  UACC is asking you, your neighbor, your teacher friends, your grandparents– anyone who cares about saving local control and liberty and high quality, honorable education –to please help review and file education bill reports so we can see at a glance which bills are a problem. You will be helping legislators, who cannot possibly analyze the number of bills that they are asked to analyze in the time given.

Oak Norton, UACC email director, has sent out emails about it. If you’re not on the email list, go to the UACC site and sign the petition.  You will then receive all future e-mailings.
Sign up for a bill here: https://docs.google.com/…/1h_eB3A9Ghqfa6-sdEwjRGSkaLb…/edit…

Read it and then report on it here: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/20…/file-bill-report/

See bill summaries here: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/2016…/bill-summaries/

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US PARENTS INVOLVED IN EDUCATION (USPIE)

LAUNCHED

In a series of press  conferences held this week in various states, US Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) launched its campaign to stop federal intrusion into local education, and launched a membership drive for parents to join, as well as a pledge for legislators to sign, if they stand for true local control of education, as well.

Please join with those across the nation who realize that it’s time to reassert authority over education, over privacy rights, over testing and curriculum; and over stewardship of children by their own families.

Join Us in Houston: Conference #AboutTheChild – Jan. 29-31; Twitter Rally for #AboutTheChild TONIGHT   Leave a comment

flier about the child

About The Child, a grassroots coalition of parents, educators, doctors, psychologists, pastors, authors, and more, has announced an educational conference to be held January 29-31 in Houston, Texas.

The conference will feature  speakers from across the country, including Paul Reynolds, Stephanie Bell, Dr. Karen Effrem, Dr. Peg Luksik,  Dr. Duke Pesta, Dr. Sherry Furlow, John Eidsmoe, Linda Murphy, Luca Bocci, Alice Linahan, Troy Towns, Angelique Clark, Joan Landes, Christel Swasey, Jason Hoyt, and Neil Mammen.  Read speaker bios here.

I’m so happy to be going to Houston.

I can’t wait to hear from so many remarkable individuals, and to have the opportunity to speak about the importance of waking up to defend our families,  our Constitutional rights, and our children’s opportunities to have a happy, classical education– all things which current “education reforms” have harmed or seek to harm.

 

The conference will be live streamed on January 29-30, 2016. The registration link for virtual or actual conference attendance is  here.

Let

 

A press conference hosted by U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) will take place at the #AboutTheChild Conference, where a panel from USPIE will roll out its campaign to #StopFedEd.

A Twitter rally is scheduled to promote the issues that the conference will address.

Join the Twitter rally tonight:  Sunday, January 10–  in support of Houston’s upcoming #AboutTheChild Conference and everything that it’s about.

This is going to be good.

 

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