Big Brother Is Watching Your Kids

Emmett McGroarty, the executive director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative of American Principles Project was on Fox News talking about a recent New York Post article he wrote with Jane Robbins.  In the article they outline regulatory changes made by the Department of Education that undermine student and family privacy.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=1353082628001&w=466&h=263Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

This is an egrigeious violation of privacy that needs to be called out.

Originally posted at Caffeinated Thoughts

State broadens student tracking

State broadens student tracking
EMERY P. DALESIO – ASSOCIATED PRESS  DEC 27, 2011

Besides tracking trends in the great mass of the state’s public school population, online capabilities allow parents to track their children throughout the year. A system called NC WISE allows parents with an online password to track the homework missing, credits earned, standardized test results and days absent. The service, which the Data Quality campaign says is now provided by only a handful of other states, is popular with parents and PTAs.

That service for tracking missing homework, credits, standardized test results, and days absent may be popular with parents and PTAs (even though no evidence is provided) but it does not mean those parents and PTAs are even aware that info is a part of a larger data system…   and that others are being given access to that data…  and would that be popular with parents and PTAs?

 

Drudge Report Links to TIAE Op-Ed on Data Collection

The popular website DrudgeReport has linked to a NY Post Article How the Feds Are Tracking Your Kid.  Here’s a sample:

Would it bother you to know that the federal Centers for Disease Control had been shown your daughter’s health records to see how she responded to an STD/teen-pregnancy-prevention program? How about if the federal Department of Education and Department of Labor scrutinized your son’s academic performance to see if he should be “encouraged” to leave high school early to learn a trade? Would you think the government was intruding on your territory as a parent?

It’s worth reading the whole op-ed as it exposes some of the privacy issues surrounding the national standards push.

Jay P. Greene Highlights Internal Common Core Battles

Jay P. Greene writes on his own blog that a battle is brewing between various strains of the pro-Common Core factions as they realize the immensity of the monopoly they are proposing to put into place:

Let the in-fighting begin.

Supporters of digital learning, many of whom were among the strongest supporters of national standards, have organized in opposition to the imposition of a single test on the nation’s schools.  As it stands, the federal government is dumping several hundred million dollars on two testing consortia to develop assessments based on the federally “incentivized” Common Core standards.  A choice of two tests is not the same as a single test, but it is darn close.  It’s like the old joke where you have a choice between death or roo-roo.

The backers of digital learning organized by Innosight issued a group letter in which they express their desire for a multitude of testing options because they (finally) recognize the connection between choice and innovation:

Create a dynamic testing ecosystem, not another one-size-fits-all assessment. Rather than a single common test, the federal-funded opportunity offers the potential to create a vibrant assessment ecosystem comprised of multiple platforms, open-item banks, and multiple testing options that encourages deeper learning. An assessment ecosystem, rather than a single common test, will give states the flexibility to take advantage of innovations in digital learning over time while maintaining interoperability and comparability.

Signatories to this anti-national testing statement include Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, Gisele Huff, Terry  Moe, Tom Vander Ark, Bob Wise, and Julie. E. Young in addition to dozens of others.

I’m not sure why backers of digital learning have taken so long to recognize the threat posed by the nationalization movement.  And I really can’t understand why some of them have been ardent supporters of national standards.  The adoption of national standards only has the possibility of having an effect if it is tightly connected to national testing and curriculum.

The “tight-loose” idea that we can nationally impose standards but allow a wide range of assessments, curricula, and teaching methods is just an empty slogan used to conceal the inevitability of nationalizing all of these aspects of the education system if the standards are to mean anything.  If we don’t have a common way of assessing, how can we be sure that everyone is adhering to the national standards?  And if the national standards are more than vague generalities, they inevitably drive  what is in the curriculum and how it must be taught.  You can have a little bit of nationalization about as much as you can be a little bit pregnant.

Despite the intellectual incoherence of some of these digital learning backers of national standards but opponents of national testing, it is nice to see the nationalization train starting to go off the tracks.  As the train moves further along and the full implications of nationalizing key aspects of the education system become more obvious to everyone, more and more people will jump that train.  Without significant coercion it will be very hard to keep everyone on board until they reach the station where standards, assessments, and curriculum are all centrally imposed.

This looks like a classic case illustrating the necessity of being careful what you wish for.

Obama Education Policies Survive the Chopping Block; End Around of State Legislatures Continues

The Senate level-funded almost all of the education funding.  The House increased funding for Title I and Special education, but eliminated 31 other programs including Race to the Top.  The compromise spending bill was recently passed by the House, 296-121 this would fund several government programs until September 30, 2012.  The Senate is expected to pass the bill as well.

EdWeek reported what survived in the compromise bill:

Under the compromise spending bill, Title I grants for districts would see a tiny boost of $60 million, bringing the total to $14.5 billion. And the $60 million increase will be divided among thousands of school districts, so it’s unlikely to make much a difference overall.

Special education would also see a teeny hike, to $11.6 billion, a $100 million increase. Advocates are sure to celebrate that the funding is heading in the right direction, but that tiny boost is unlikely to have a huge impact on the bottom line for many districts.

Race to the Top, which would have been completely eliminated under the House bill, was funded, but the program was cut from nearly $700 million in fiscal year 2011 to $550 million. In fact, the House Appropriations Committee, which is controlled by Republicans, touted the reduction in its press release, saying that the “Obama administration’s unpopular Race to the Top” was cut. The grants can be made to either states or districts. That would be a big change for the program.

Other Obama priorities survived the chopping block. The School Improvement Grant program, which covers the cost of turning around the nation’s lowest performing schools, got $534.6 million, according to the Committee for Education Funding, a lobbying coalition. That’s the same level as last year, but a little less than the $600 million the Obama administration wanted to see.

The Investing in Innovation grant program, which scales up promising practices at the district level, got nearly $150 million, according to CEF, or the same level as last year.

And the Promise Neighborhoods program, which helps communities pair wraparound services, such as health, with education, was a big winner. It got $60 million, according to CEF. That’s up from about $30 million last year.

What was the House thinking passing this bill?  Yes there are some budget cuts in it so they probably see that it isn’t a complete wash, but set the issue of money aside for a second.

The Republican Majority House just gave carte blanche approval for the Obama Administration through the Department of Education to continue to do an end around State Legislatures and Assemblies to go directly to school districts.  Wow.  That wasn’t a principled vote, it was looking for a deal to be done – at the expense of state sovereignty.

The Common Core Cheering Section

Following up what Terry posted, I found a couple more videos that was *worth* sharing.  We have this gem of a video created within for the West Mecklenburg High School (North Carolina) staff.

HT to Gretchen of Missouri Education Watchdog who sent this to me via email.  She said of this video, “It’s wonderful and magical.  It will work in all areas and the rigor will be raised and all will be well.”  I can just picture the eye roll.

“I will embrace the common core without fear.”  Is the line in this “motivational” song about the Common Core State Standards.  Come on teachers!  Just believe!

Finally back to West Mecklenburg High School.