Archive for the ‘#UTPOL’ Tag

Dear Voting Legislators on Utah’s Ed Committee: Protect Private Schools. Protect Children’s Innocence in Sexuality. Protect Parental Authority.   Leave a comment

american mom

Dear Legislators on Utah’s Education Committee,

Please vote YES on HB 136 by Rep. Mike Kennedy. This bill gives the state board authority to ignore fed-ed mandates. It’s the bill Rep. Dave Lifferth ran last year and it passed the House then, but didn’t make it to the floor of the senate on the final night.

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HB0136.html

Please vote NO on HB 215 by Rep. Brian King. This bill is trying to change Utah from an abstinence education state to align to a set of national, common sex ed standards called “comprehensive sexuality education standards” that are truly disturbing.   See video on the national  CSE standards: https://vimeo.com/152728936

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HB0215.html

Please vote NO on SB 59 by Sen. Gene Davis. SB 59 has sailed through the senate and puts PRIVATE schools under the purview of the state board. Here’s a link to specifics about the bill. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/utahnsagainstcommoncore/permalink/2204136833145715/)

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SB0059.html

Vote YES on SB 84 by Rep. Jake Anderegg. This bill sets up roadblocks to the legislature so they can’t pull a fast one the last couple days of the session to pass a bill. Watch this video (4 min.) to see an example. https://www.facebook.com/libertasutah/videos/1389197131113940/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SB0084.html

Please vote YES on SB 115 by Rep. Jake Anderegg. This bill eliminates the criminal penalty on parents whose children are truant and reduces it to an infraction.

http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SB0115.html

Sincerely,

Christel Swasey

 

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FRIENDS, TAKE ACTION:

Text or call:

Rep. LaVar Christensen 801 550 1040
Rep. Bruce R. Cutler 801 556 4600
Rep. Justin L. Fawson 801 781 0016
Rep. Francis D. Gibson 801-361-0082
Rep. Eric K. Hutchings home 801-963-2639 SPONSOR
Rep. Bradley G. Last 435-817-0064
Rep. Daniel McCay 801-810-4110
Rep Kim Coleman 801-865-8970
Rep. Michael E. Noel 435-616-5603
Rep. Derrin R. Owens 435-851-1284

Email:

Val Peterson <vpeterson@le.utah.gov>,
LaVar Christensen <lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov>,
Francis Gibson <fgibson@le.utah.gov>,
Eric Hutchings <ehutchings@le.utah.gov>,
“Bradley G. Last” <blast@le.utah.gov>,
Mike Noel <mnoel@kanab.net>,
dowens@le.utah.gov,
bcutler@le.utah.gov,
kcoleman@le.utah.gov,
Daniel McCay <dmccay@le.utah.gov

american mom

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Three Anti-Common Core State School Board Members Elected in Utah Last Night   3 comments

 

happy dance dog

Miracles do happen.

Utah’s liberty-loving, anti-common core community did a lot of happy dancing last night when candidates Alisa Ellis, Michelle Boulter and Lisa Cummins won three seats on the state school board. This election showed what can happen when people actually get to vote, instead of having the governor appoint board members, as had happened for so many years in the past.

Utah’s board finally has vibrant voices and votes for parent-and-teacher directed, not federal-corporate directed control of curriculum, testing, and student data.

lisa cumminsboulteralisa vote

 

 

 

 

lee-thompson-cummins

Although the Utah anti-common core community was saddened that the heroic Dr. Gary Thompson (pictured above with Senator Mike Lee and Lisa Cummins) did not win his bid for a seat on the state school board, his campaign had an undeniable impact in raising awareness about student mental health, student data privacy, and the supremacy of family /parental rights.  How often Dr. Thompson repeated this truth: “Parents are, and always must be, the resident experts of their children”.

The spirit of what Dr. Thompson’s all about thrives in Alisa, Michelle and Lisa.

The news of three of our strongest freedom-fighter parents taking three seats on the state school board is nothing short of miraculous.

Celebrate!

crayons

Dr. Thompson to USOE: Stop Lying to Legislators; UCLA Never Validated SAGE Test   1 comment

Thompson debate sl trib

State School Board candidate Dr. Gary Thompson’s tooth-and-nail fight against the Utah State Office of Education, a fight for ethical student testing and protection of student data –a years-long, ongoing fight– was completely omitted in the Salt Lake Tribune’s report yesterday about Dr. Thompson.

The Tribune stated that school board candidate Dr. Gary Thompson refused to participate in this week’s debate because “the one-minute-or-less response time… lent itself more to sound bites than productive dialogue”.   The Tribune failed to note that Dr. Thompson has fiercely, publicly debated education ethics for years: look here for video of his recent campaign speech  which called out incumbent Crandall; here for his campaign site, here for his blog, here for his famous offer to give $10,000 for evidence of actual validity for Utah’s Common Core SAGE/AIR test; here for his television appearance on The Blaze.

Last week, Dr. Thompson was infuriated when state assessment director Jo Ellen Schaeffer told legislators that UCLA had validated Utah’s SAGE testing, at the June 14th  interim education session, stating that this showed SAGE to be a valid test.

While it is true that CRESST has an office on a UCLA campus, CRESST is not UCLA.  CRESST is not a university; it’s a government-funded “research” group partnered with AIR  (remember: AIR is Utah’s SAGE testmaking contractor).  That’s a far cry from independent validity testing; it’s more like asking the the chef’s business partners to write his restaurant’s review.

That blurring by Schaeffer is no small thing.  It seems impossible that Schaeffer would not know what independent validity testing is, as state assessment director.  Thus, she must be unconcerned with the ethics of saying that a test was independently validated, when it never was.

snow

Representative Snow followed up, asking for evidence of validity testing.  The USOE returned a memo, not a validity report.  The memo stated that Achieve, Inc., Education Next, UCLA and Florida had given evidence of the validity of SAGE.  But it wasn’t true.

Dr. Thompson pointed out that alignment with NAEP testing is not independent validity testing on the SAGE test; the SAGE has never been validated.

He said:  “Both the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah State Office of Education have a long, well documented history of providing lawmakers and parents in Utah with responses to inquiries laced with ‘lies of omission’.  This deceptive practice places public school children in Utah at high risk for continued psychometric experimentation, and profit-motivated exploitation via the hands of SAGE test designer, AIR, Inc.”

Most people read whatever the USOE posts online about “validity” (without validity report links or any footnotes, of course) and just swallow it as truth.  But Dr. Thompson and others are holding the USOE’s feet to the fire, saying that children deserve better than to be experimentation subjects for profit-motivated corporations and the power-tripping federal government.

Will enough people wake up and vote differently, or at least call or email the state school board, to make a difference?  Phone: 801-538-7500  Address:  250 East 500 South  PO Box 144200 SLC UT  Email:  stateboard@schools.utah.gov

Thompson family

Dr. Thompson’s response to the USOE’s response is here:

 

Dear Ms. Sullivan [Parent who contacted Representative Snow],

I have read the Utah State Board of Education’s memo in response to Representative Lowry Snow’s inquiry, on your behalf, about his concerns regarding the validity of the Utah SAGE test.  Here is a partial summary statement from the Board’s response informing Representative Snow, that the SAGE is indeed a valid test:

 “The validity of Utah’s Student Assessments of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) has been confirmed through a number of independent sources. The most recent studies include: (1) The National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, UCLA (CRESST), (2) Education Next, (3) Achieve.org, (4) Independent Verification of the Psychometric Validity for the Florida Standards Assessment. Each study substantiates both the high rigor of Utah’s standards and the validity and reliability of the assessments that measures those standards.”

As cited evidence of SAGE validity, the Board references “Education Next”, and “Achieve”. org”. Per the Board’s own memo, this cited evidence discusses  “high standards and state proficiency levels” when compared to the NAEP test.   This is not related to specific inquires regarding the validity of the Utah SAGE test.  As such, a response from me will not be forth coming.

I also will not respond to the Board’s reference to the State of Florida’s Validity study.   Several months ago, the Board used this same document to substantiate Utah’s SAGE test validity.   I sent a written response to the Board, and the general public, factually rebutting this dangerously irresponsible, and inaccurate claim. 

As you and thousands of Utah parents are aware, I am still waiting for a response.   The letter sent to Board Vice Chairman, Dave Thomas, in response to his spurious claims, was referenced and published by Utahan’s Against Common Core’s Christel Swasey. Here is the link: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/sage-validity-part-2-dr-thompson-responds/

Thus, the only item left to rebut from the Utah State Board of Education memo, is its unexplainable reliance on a yet to be published AIR-SAGE validity study, produced by the federally funded, quasi governmental, UCLA campus-based research group, CRESST.

I am going to keep this short and sweet:  

Here are five (5) questions that you, Representative Snow, the media, and voters in Utah may wish to ask Board of Education Chairman Dave Crandall during his “debate” appearance this Wednesday, June 22 at Summit Academy:

 

1.  Why did the State Board rely on the research group “CRESST” as the primary source of proof of SAGE validity, without letting parents and lawmakers know that CRESST is “funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI)”?  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Center_for_Research_on_Evaluation,_Standards,_and_Student_Testing)

2.  Utah paid $40,000,000 to AIR, Inc. (American Institute of Research) to design the SAGE test.  Were you aware that the research group CRESST, which produced the “validity study”, is supported financially by, and lists AIR as “Partners” on its own website? (http://cresst.org/partners/)   Does the Board leadership consider this to be an “independent”, and unbiased relationship?

3.  Since 2012, were the Board and the State Office of Education aware that the current Director of CRESST, Li Cai, received multiple millions of dollars of personal research grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, and (you can’t make this stuff up) Utah’s SAGE test designer, AIR? (http://cresst.org/wp-content/uploads/LiAbridge.pdf )  How can a Director of a research organization produce an objective and unbiased validity study on the very group that has given him substantial amounts of money for independent research?

4. Why did the State Board of Education fail to inform parents that their children were taking a yet to be validated test for the past three years?  Is not such omission a complete and blatant violation of trust?

5.  Are you aware that Board placed hundreds’ of thousands of Utah children at risk of harm, and exploitation, at the hands of a behavioral research corporation (AIR), by allowing them to experiment on children without the informed, written consent of their parents?  Are you aware that this unethical practice is also against Utah law? (https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title53A/Chapter13/53A-13-S302.html) “Activities prohibited without prior written consent”

When the Utah State Board of Education and State Office of Education produce an independent validity study, I would be delighted to devote professional time to review it at your request.  

In the meantime, the current memo submitted to Representative Snow in support of SAGE “validity” is clearly a deliberate attempt to deceive an esteemed member of the Utah Interim Education Committee, and only serves to highlight the unethical, unconstitutional, incestuous relationship between the State of Utah, and the U.S. Federal Government.   

Both the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah State Office of Education have a long, well documented history of providing lawmakers and parents in Utah with responses to inquiries laced with “lies of omission.”   This deceptive practice places public school children in Utah at high risk for continued psychometric experimentation, and profit- motivated exploitation via the hands of SAGE test designer, AIR, Inc.   I have no desire to debate current Board Chairman Dave Crandall in a public setting, until this serious matter of continued experimentation and exploitation of our children is answered in a clear, ethical, fact based manner.

In summary, given the clear and present danger this poses to 650,000 vulnerable Utah children, it is my professional opinion that you consider asking Representative Snow to seek an independent inquiry regarding this matter via Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.  It is my strong, evidence based, professional opinion that Utah’s education leaders at the Board of Education and State Office of Education, are more committed to adhering to the educational political “flavors of the day”, as opposed to providing Utah’s children with objective, science based solutions to serious education problems in our State.    

Please let me know if I can be of more assistance to you in the future.  Feel free to distribute this response to the general public as you deem to be appropriate under the circumstances.

Best regards;

Gary Thompson, Psy.D.

District 10 Candidate For Utah State Board of Education

www.vote4drgary.com   

 

 

IMPORTANT: State School Board Candidate Information, Debates and Endorsements   6 comments

State School Board elections are coming up fast.  If you don’t know which district is your state school board voting district, click here.  If you want to learn who’s running and what each stands for, check out Sutherland Institute’s page, posted  for all state school board candidates to introduce themselves to voters.  Each candidate who responded answered 13 education policy questions and some also uploaded  introductory videos.

 

State School Board Candidate Debates begin tonight:

District 15: June 7th at 6:30 p.m. at George Washington Academy in St. George.

District 4: June 8th at 6:30 p.m at North Davis Preparatory Academy in Layton.

District 7: June 15th at 6:30 p.m. at Salt Lake Arts Academy.

District 8: June 16th at 6:30 p.m. at American International School of Utah in Murray.

District 11: June 18th at 9:30 a.m. at Early Light Academy in South Jordan.

District 10: June 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Channing Hall in Draper.

District 12: June 23rd at 6:30 p.m. at Noah Webster Academy in Orem.

alisa vote

Alisa Ellis, District 12

frank strickland

Frank Strickland, District 7

boulter

Michelle Boulter, District 15

sharette

David Sharette, District 8

lisa cummins

Lisa Cummins for District 11

dr t

Dr. Gary Thompson, District 10

 

Elevating Education Rally:  Common No More

On Saturday, June 11th at 10:00 in the Hall of Governors at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City, there will be gathering  that will star the six liberty-minded candidates.

Vote for those who know that “parents are, and must always be, the resident experts of their own children”.  Don’t allow the lobbyists to determine this vital election of our new state school board.  Let it be the most liberty-minded candidates who win.  This week, on June 11th, please come to the capitol, meet the friends you haven’t met yet, and gather to ask these candidates some questions.

Can’t wait to see you there!

 

flier

Radio Interviews

On Wednesday, June 8th from 10:00 – 12:00, K-TALK radio AM 630 will interview six liberty-minded candidates for Utah State School Board, including:

Alisa Ellis (District 12), Dr. Gary Thompson (District 10)Michelle Boulter (District 15)Lisa Cummins (District 11)David Sharette (District 8) , and  Frank Strickland   (District 7).  To call in to ask questions, call 801-254-5855.

If you click on the six candidates’ names above, you will reach their candidacy sites, Facebook pages or news articles.  Please leave a testimonial for them if they have a spot for you to do so, and share these with friends and family in each of the voting districts.  I have also posted a campaign speech video and a Band of Mothers video from candidate Alisa Ellis, below.  If you have additional videos for additional liberty-minded candidates,  please post them in the comments section.

 

 

 

gary vote

michelle boulter

alisa's district

Update:

Tomorrow’s rally is really important.  There are so many terrible candidates running for state school board.  There are only a handful of conservatives, and they could turn the years-long tide of federal overreach and loss of parental control if they could get elected.  I hope many can come, even though political rallies might not be as much fun as a million other June Saturday morning activities.

Of particular concern and interest to me is District 7, the Salt Lake City/Park City race.  I don’t live in that district, but it seems incredibly important to me.  The incumbent, Leslie Castle, is probably the #1 worst state school board member, to some of us at Utahns Against Common Core.  She was crazy about losing Utah’s freedom in education under the Common Core, and was vicious (and dishonest) toward those who confronted her about it.  See my four year old posts on Leslie Castle here.

She recently told Frank Strickland, her opponent (the one I support) this, which he posted on his campaign Facebook page:

“Last week the incumbent I am running against [Leslie Castle] amazingly said:  ‘I represent the education system of the State- not the parents or children.’  Another quote: “The education system does not belong to parents, its does not belong to the students, it belongs to the commonwealth of Utah’.   Of course my stance is that the control of education resides with the parents, and it is primarily for the good of the students. In doing so I agree with the Constitution of the State of Utah. I will be a voice for the common person at the board, and my door will always be open to hear from you, the voter, first. We already have enough members listening to the special interests.”

Frank Strickland has many other questionable opponents; notably, Dan Tippets, who recently accepted a huge campaign contribution ($20,000) from a D.C.-based social welfare organization “Leadership for Educational Equity” and even more notably:  Carol Lear, the former top attorney at the Utah State Office of Education, who ushered in the Common Core and data mining State Longitudinal Database Systems six years ago.

I wrote to Lear in 2012, asking her in good faith to help clarify why we had joined the Common Core bandwagon, when there seemed to be no amendment process for the states governed by it.  Lear responded, “Why would there need to be an amendment process?  The whole point is to be common.”  She saw no virtue in the freedom to disagree, she said.  That tells you exactly how concerned she wasn’t, or isn’t, about local and state autonomy over educational decision-making.

Vote Frank Strickland if you are in Park City or Salt Lake City’s District 7.

In other districts, please vote for Alisa Ellis, Dr. Gary Thompson, Lisa Cummins, and Michelle Boulter.

Please come if you can tomorrow, at 10:00 a.m. to the Hall of Governors at the State Capitol, to support these wonderful candidates and their cause, which is the cause of freedom and family and real education.

 

Red Alert: Stop UT Bill 164 Against Parental Rights: Hearing Tomorrow   5 comments

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HB164 is the bill that takes out the protective word “not” from the sentence that previously said that nationalized (Common Core/SAGE/AIR) test scores “may NOT be considered in determining” student advancement to the next grade, or student grade in the course. (line 80-81)

This means that if you exercise your conscience and opt out of the tests to protect your child, your child can fail the class and the grade– if HB 164 passes.

HB 164 will have a hearing tomorrow.  If you can possibly rearrange your schedule, please come (and bring your kids) to the Capitol tomorrow.  Location: HOUSE BUILDING ROOM 30.

When nobody shows up to hearing, the promoters of bills give out smooth talking points and nobody really gets to the heart of what the intended or unintended consequences are, if the bills become laws.

POWELK

I wrote to the co-author of HB164.  I asked him to explain why he was doing this.  (He used to be my rep, and sort of a family friend, when I lived in Heber.)  Representative Powell did not respond.   Here’s a picture of the other author, Ann Millner, in case you see her when you’re there and want to ask her, too, why the state should be more powerful than the parent, in this state once famous for being so family-friendly.

 

MILLNA

 

Wendy Hart, a member of Utah’s largest school district’s school board, (Alpine District) has put out an alarm, asking all parents who get the message to show up at the hearing.

(Please think about this, if you love Common Core and SAGE testing– it’s your prerogative to participate in it, but please agree to respect the rights of those who don’t want to participate, because the next law might be the one where you wish you had help maintaining parental rights to decide what is best for a child.  We need to keep the right to opt children out  –without penalty for parent or student.)

Wendy Hart is asking people to “pack the House Education Committee meeting on TUESDAY Feb 16th to show our OPPOSITION to HB164!!! We must stand up for students and protect our right to opt out!”  She continued:

“If we can stop this bill in committee, we can kill the bill! Why is this bill so bad?
*It allows SAGE Summative test scores to determine student grades and student grade advancement (lines 80-83).

*It removes parents’ right to opt out of SAGE Interim & SAGE Formative (because they are not “end-of-grade-level” tests), and any other software programs provided by the State (line 169-170) (the law will no longer protect our ability to opt out of any current or future formative testing).

*It allows for incentives/rewards to be given to students who take the test, which means students whose parents have opted them out will be excluded. How will children feel when their peers are receiving treats and they are not? Who will be the “bad guy” in this situation? The parents. (lines 180-181)

If you can rearrange your schedule to come to the Captiol at 1:30 PM (to allow for parking, etc.) we need all the people there we can get! They need to see our faces so they know how much we care about this. (Meeting will be held in the House Building Room 30)

Please write the committee members if you are not able to attend the meeting (see below for e-mail addresses). When writing, please be brief and most importantly be respectful.”

Link to the bill: http://le.utah.gov/~2016/bills/static/HB0164.html

Link to the committee meeting info: http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp…

If you can’t come, write:

Committee member e-mail addresses:
blast@le.utah.gov; vlsnow@le.utah.gov; lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov; kimcoleman@le.utah.gov; brucecutler@le.utah.gov; seliason@le.utah.gov; justinfawson@le.utah.gov; fgibson@le.utah.gov; ehutchings@le.utah.gov; dlifferth@le.utah.gov; dmccay@le.utah.gov; csmoss@le.utah.gov; mnoel@kanab.net; mariepoulson@le.utah.gov;

 

The official web site for the Utah State Legislature.
le.utah.gov
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village raising my children

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.

 

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               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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