What Is The Cost of a Home Visit?

Home visits by the government are apparently the new thing across state legislatures in the U.S. See below for a list of bills and why these could pose a risk to your family’s privacy.

Before you put out the welcome mat and  assume ‘Home Visits are great; it is helping kids’…  Please consider this:  What is the trade off?  Services for newborns, pregnant mothers and children already exist without Home Visits to tell you about them.

Home visits should not be a required, forced prerequisite to receive services.

If you must hand over your citizenship status, your family’s personal medical and mental health information, marital status, income, race,  answer questions about depression, family interactions, tobacco use, infant’s gestation, birth order, developmental delays, immunizations, etc. in order to receive services or information about services, this is coercive.

If in doubt about the data collected, take a look at this document entitled, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Performance Indicators and Systems Outcomes Data Collection & Reporting Manual from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; be sure to review the lists of personal data elements collected and how they are used as performance indicators.  Many (all?) of these Home Visit programs leverage federal Medicaid monies to pay for services. If you are unfamiliar with the questions asked on a Medicaid form, see this Colorado Medicaid form which families must complete to receive mental health services. As you can see from proposed state legislation below, Home Visits can be forced,  sometimes without your permission. Forced data collection is invasive, especially when we know data can be used against you, can be used to profile and deny services.

Information about family, early childhood services is already readily available.

Information about services for families is readily available, often (as in the case of Washington) directly mailed to families, is already posted on websites, in hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics, at food banks, libraries, phone books and schools.  Are Home Visits really about informing parents about available services?

Home Visits & leveraging your personal information.

If data collection isn’t the main focus of Home Visit programs, ask WHY, in states like Washington, amendments (below) to protect personal information, make data collection and sharing voluntary and transparent, have been killed.  With every state bill posted below, we wonder if bill sponsors would consider adding opt-in CONSENT and transparency before personal information is collected and shared. 

Is personal data the price of a home visit?

Wrench in the Gears recently wrote about this, brilliantly documenting how Home Visit legislation sweeping the nation is a well connected, well funded Moneyball scheme based on data collection.  (See MEWs prior piece on Moneyball for Kids and see who are the All Star Moneyball for Government Players in your state.)  Home Visits are disguised as charity but are actually a profit based invasive data grab, turning people and personal information into human capital and predictive numbers. Wrench in the Gears writes:

Home Visit Legislation: A Sales Pitch For Family Surveillance?  “It tells the tale of a sweeping program of “collective impact” cultivated by consultancies like Third Sector Capital PartnersFSG, and the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Strive Together, a non-profit program incubated in Cincinnati, OH under the wing of Gates Foundation-funded Knowledgeworks (promoter of learning ecosystems), will carry out the program.”–Read this Wrench in the Gears piece. Look at the maps. Follow the money.

A List of State ‘Home Visit’ bills for 2019.

Below are a few states with current Home Visit legislation.  If you don’t see your state, click this NCSL bill tracker and check back often, to see if your state has already passed Home Visits, Early Childhood Visits, mandated Universal Mental Health Screenings.

Colorado has SB102 bill which permits a public school to include in its innovation plan that it will operate as a community school. Community schools are tied to the federal law, ESSA.  Community Schools require Home Visits and mandatory community, parent, child surveys.  Colorado’s Governor appointed an Education Leadership Council who has recently  released this report to guide the state’s future education strategies. The report cites Marc Tucker’s work on lifelong work based learning and K-12 education as a building block for a workforce databadges aka, credentials. The Colorado report has been lauded as a Culture Shift in Education in which many Colorado education bills (including this Community Schools Bill) will be generated.  (See powerpoint presentation and listen to testimony by  Representative Bob Rankin at the Colorado State Board Februrary 14, 2019.)

Illinois has introduced a bill, HB3560, that says if you want to home school, you will be visited by the Child Protective Services.   Yikes.

Iowa has S111Medicaid Managed Care Newborn Visitation Services.  The bills says the department of human services shall contractually require a Medicaid managed care organization to provide at least one evidence-based home visit for every newborn.

Iowa also has a bill, HF 272, that mandates school district board of directors to conduct quarterly home visits to check on the health and safety of private home schooled children. The home visits shall take place in the child’s residence and an interview or observation of the child may be conducted.  Apparently, you can’t say no.  

“If permission to enter the home to interview or observe the child is refused, the juvenile court or district court upon a showing of probable cause may authorize the person making the home visit to enter the home and interview or observe the child.”

Is it weird that they can come into your home, without your permission? What constitutes probable cause?  Simply because you home school? Or maybe if you are Black? White? Muslim? Christian?  Immigrant?  The 4th Amendment says probable cause means when you have reason to believe that a crime has been committed and that evidence of the crime will be found in the place to be searched.   Is home schooling a crime? 

Maine has H97 which appropriates funds for home visiting services to provide child development education and skills development for new parents.

Minnesota has S671, the GREAT START FOR ALL MINNESOTA CHILDREN ACT which creates funding and opportunities for children ages prenatal to three; home visiting prenatal to 3, public school/head start birth to 3 education, early childhood education, and child care assistance birth to 3 years for all MN infants and toddlers. This bill details the Great Start Fund in state treasury for birth to 3 education in the schools. Also, various grant programs will target primarily low income, ethnic, and high risk population. Home visit and birth to 3 education is offered to all families

New Hampshire has NH S 274, Newborn Home Visiting Program which declares that the Newborn Home Visiting Program shall be available to all Medicaid eligible families.

New Mexico has NM S 290 Medicaid Home Visiting Services and Council which requires the secretary of human services to establish Medicaid home visiting services.

Ohio has OH 7 Executive Order, that creates the Governor’s Advisory Council on Home Visitation looking at evidence based home visiting programs.

Oregon has OR S 526 Licensed Health Care Providers Study that directs state Health Authority to study home visiting by licensed health care providers, requires report to interim committee of Legislative Assembly related to health care and declares an emergency.

Washington (the home state of Microsoft) wants to be a leader in Home Visits and data collection; so we will highlight a few interesting points about Washington Home Visit legislation.  WA has an “emergency”  bill  WA H1771 / S5683 called “The Baby Act”, that says if you have a baby, you may be visited by “allied professionals” from the State government(A note on Emergency Clauses in bills, this basically means citizens have no recourse.)  The WA Baby Act creates a universal home visit program for newborns and creates a state run family linkage. Parents and privacy advocates are asking legislators to STOP the WA Baby Act.  Will they listen or are they too far down this home visit path?

According to this CCSSO publication,

“The Washington state legislature created the Home Visiting Services Account in 2010 to blend federal, state, and private dollars to efficiently and effectively serve families across the state with high-impact, home visiting services. Home visiting is part of the state’s commitment to early learning. A strong public-private partnership – inclusive of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Early Learning, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services, and Thrive Washington – guides implementation of the state’s Early Learning Plan and Birth to Three Plan.”

Watch February 5, 2019 testimony on this bill, HB1771.  Starting at about the 39 minute mark, you will hear a representative from Washington’s Governor Inslee state,

“I am excited to be here today, in support of this bill which is Governor Requested legislation…that will make Washington a national leader for statewide Home Visiting…“–Michelle Davis, Executive Director of WA Board of Health, Representing Governor Inslee [Emphasis added]

At the 44 minute mark, Representative Griffey asks a good question about protecting personal medical information. He states,“I’m a health care provider Emergency Medical Technician have been for thirty three years. I just want to make sure that we have a firm grasp on HIPAA and that medical information that we have is going to stay. I found that many bills that we’ve worked on here we don’t have the same HIPAA once you transfer information to a state agency the health care protect Health Care Information Protection Act doesn’t apply and I want to make sure that we have tight sideboards on this and could you talk to that please?” [Emphasis added] 

Ms. Davis responds without answering the question. Instead she refers to prior testimony from Durham, SC  Home Visit Family Connects program, that Washington would like to model,

“So as you heard from the folks at Durham they’ve implemented this program across the country and so they do have expertise in help but they are medical professionals who have worked on this so we can provide you with more information about health privacy of the families who are receiving the services.”

If Home Visits are so wonderful, why must they be forced on citizens and why can’t parents consent to how their family’s data are shared?

Why did Washington legislators kill amendments that would protect privacy and would have guaranteed Home Visits as an opt-in program, and would have given parents transparency on how Home Visit data are used?

See these Proposed Amendments on Washington Baby Act: that were killed by Washington State legislators. Ask yourself why.

What if you refuse Home Visits? Will this turn into a big red flag that labels you as a risk? 

What if you really can’t say “No”? 

What if the WA Baby Act with Home Visits becomes mandatory, gets changed like another “voluntary” WA bill did? (In 2015, WA HB1491, The Early Start Act, was changed in the legislative process. The bill reads voluntary in some areas but also removed the word voluntary in another area. The bill states that if you receive state funding, you must participate in this Early Start program that collects longitudinal data: “EARLY ACHIEVERS, QUALITY RATING, AND IMPROVEMENT SYSTEM….The department, in collaboration with tribal governments and community and statewide partners, shall implement a ((voluntary)) quality rating and improvement system, called the early achievers program. Approved early childhood education and assistance program providers receiving state-funded support must participate in the early achievers program by the required deadlines.) 

Washington also has an ACES bill, HB1925, that creates an ACES pilot to track Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).  Watch this February 13, 2019 testimony where HB1925 ACES is the first bill presented.

“…our Department of Health administers the child profile health promotion system a program that mails information [about services currently available] to parents of children up to the age of six; those materials include age specific reminders for parents about well child checkups immunizations and other information Adverse Childhood Experiences or Aces. [These] are indicators of severe childhood stressors and family dysfunction experienced before the age of eighteen that can negatively impact a person’s physical and behavioral health Ace’s indicators include child abuse and neglect alcohol or substance abuse in the home mental illness depression or suicidal behaviors in the home incarceration of a family member witnessing intimate partner violence and parent divorce or separation.”

If you aren’t familiar with ACES, and predictive profiling, I again direct you to Wrench in the Gearswho shares that “ACES will be a crucial pubic health concern, my fear is that ACE prevention and mitigation interventions will become vehicles for “innovative” finance and will expand profiling of vulnerable populations.”  Read more on ACES here.

Protecting children and preventing child abuse is good but predictive analytics can be wrong.

The data you provide can be shared, re-shared, and analyzed.

With Home Visits, you will be scored.  Unless specific opt-in consent and transparency provisions are put in place, and are enforceable,  the data Home Visits collect can be analyzed, (profiled?), shared with researchers, businesses, nonprofits or any government agency.  You should be aware of a new federal law HR4174mandating “data interoperability”, data sharing across all agencies.

You should also be aware of a current U.S. Department of Homeland Defense biometric data collection programHomeland Advanced Recognition Technology, HART, tied to services and benefits of US. citizens, much like China’s Sesame Credit and India’s Aadhaar.

Personal Property, Personal Rights, and Personal Privacy

Your home is your property and should be protected against warrantless search and seizure. Your data should also be YOUR property.  Surveys collecting students’ personal beliefs on sensitive topics must have prior informed parent consent under federal law PPRA. Home Visits, mental health screening should be no different.

Don’t be so quick to put out the welcome mat for any Home Visit legislation unless it implicitly guarantees opt-in consent, and is not a condition of receiving services, and allows parents to see and choose how their family’s data is used or shared.

———-

A few references as to why we are so focused on infants, toddlers (zero to three years old) and Early Learning data:  ROI and human capital. 

Obama, 2015: The Economics of early childhood investments.

From Zero to Three, 2010Key components of an Early Childhood visitation system.

From Zero to Three, 2013: Race to the Top federal Early Learning challenge grants 

Zero to Three targets are:

  1. Early Learning Guidelines;
  2. Infant and early childhood mental health; and
  3. Connecting families to appropriate services.

From Zero to Three, 2014 : Meeting the Challenge, Full Report

This article, released in June 2014, discusses how the most recent ELC grantees (Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont) are targeting infants and toddlers. Additional resources and excerpts from the full article can be found here. The full article explores topics including:

  • Developing and Integrating Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers
  • Professional Development of the Infant-Toddler Workforce
  • Expansion of Home Visiting
  • Building Capacity in High-Need Communities
  • Engaging and Supporting Families
  • Connecting Families to Appropriate Services

Arne Duncan Cradle to Career tracking, 2010

Strive Cradle to Career

NGA Early Childhood Education: Federal policy should champion coordination and collaboration across Child Care Development Block Grants, Home Visiting

CCSSO: Equity starts early. How Chiefs will build High-Quality Early Education.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2016:  THE MATERNAL, INFANT, AND EARLY CHILDHOOD HOME VISITING PROGRAM.  Home Visiting Performance Indicators and Statistics. PAGE 80 Appendix A and B.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Home Visit Model Effects

Cross-post.

A Back To School Check-List

U.S. Parents Involved in Education had a back-to-school checklist that is comprehensive. In a nutshell: parents take time to KNOW what is going on at your student’s school and in their classrooms. Be persistent in getting this information. Don’t take no for an answer. After all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Here are their tips:

  • Check if your state is using the original Common Core Standards or a rebranded version.
  • Find out if your state assessments are under PARCC, SBAC, Pearson, and/or AIR Helpful article: https://edexcellence.net/articles/the-state-of-state-assessments
  • Ask to see all lesson plans outlined on a syllabus. Find out everything that they read in class, including digital books. This is your supreme court-protected right and you can opt them out of any material you feel is inappropriate. Things to look for include materials that favor international and globalism over American sovereignty, revisionist history, social justice issues as early as kindergarten, religious bias like Access Islam, sexually charged materials, and sustainable development.
  • Learn about the truth regarding Social and Emotional Learning.
  • Instruct your child to decline any and all surveys given in class. Refuse all behavioral and psychological profiles. Put this in writing. This is protected under the Hatch Amendment.
  • Read the fine print on everything before you sign it. Do not disclose any information that you do not want shared. Protect your child’s data from unnecessary collection.
  • Volunteer to see what is happening in the classroom and on the playground. Go observe for yourself and know what curriculum is being used. Also determine what is happening at your school regarding bullying.
  • Go to www.fairtest.org and find out which colleges no longer require the SAT/ACT.

Update: A reader, Audrey Buffington, sent the following tip which is great so I wanted to add it: “See if the teacher will return tests and quizzes to the student to be brought home so that you can see them.”

I know some teachers are concerned about having tests and quizzes floating around that students can pass around to cheat, but the way around that is to develop multiple tests that you rotate through every year. I hand back tests to the students in my government class that I teach (and give them the opportunity to correct the test for extra credit). Handing back tests and quizzes is a no-brainer for me, but that probably is not the case in every classroom. 

Pushing Parents Around

With Michelle Moore as co-contributor. 

It’s all too clear that there are some schools that think they must save your children … from you.

Yes. You.

Doctrinaire teachers, administrators, and boards of education have become presumptuous and smug.  And their contempt for parents is grounded in their surety that …  in all matters, not just academics. … parents fall short. Way short.

And the new, modern mission of public education … and those extra-enlightened educators …  is to provide the right wisdoms and morals and ideals for the children who arrive lacking.

Lacking because you’re lacking. Because you’re parental dummies.

So they have no qualms … no reluctance whatsoever … remodeling your child’s quaint moralities and passé decencies so that they can be fine-tuned for the new tomorrow that’s already assaulting us today.  A tomorrow that doesn’t feature parents like you.

Some school leaders bully parents outright. 

They argue that lots of parents are socially antiquated … and that it’s necessary to bypass them altogether. That it’s best if culturally-savvy teachers and cutting-edge school leaders simply impose the new realities on the school community because involving parents would only turn the transformation into a slog.

So they lay down new guidelines, issue new edicts, and institute new commandments. Then they sermonize and preachify. And too often, parents are the last to know that there’s a more vivid sex ed program … or a new co-ed bathroom policy … or a reconsidered approach to the Pledge or the National Anthem. Or that this holiday has been renovated or that tradition abandoned because they don’t meet the new expectations of some noisy fussers.

They learn head-shaking stuff through a newsletter … or the grapevine … usually after-the fact.  Perhaps it’s a menu redesign by the school’s vegan vigilantes. Or that some age-old playground favorites are suddenly too-too touchy. And touchy is bad stuff. Even in a game of tag. For first graders.

Other school leaders … in more toney communities … actually nanny parents.

Coax them. Induce them to embrace itchy changes that, at the same time, make them uneasy.

Teachers and school leaders appeal to a certain sophistication that is, in truth, a sloppy tactic to usher in disturbing changes under the flimsy guise of global awareness. Whatever that is.

It’s lookism at its worst.  The whispered warning that to oppose this or that might make the community appear less metropolitan or less secular. And that would reflect very badly.

So parents are smoothly duped with fraudy bullspit.  Principals and superintendents insist that  “progressive”schools must embrace the most startling changes of even the smallest minorities.  That to do otherwise would exhibit an embarrassing parochialism in a world gone cosmopolitan.

And that’s all followed by the cheesy urgency that it’s imperative for parents to sign on with the new educationalists lest their own children become global stragglers.

In other words, they’d look cornfed. Like social bumpkins. Or hicks. So parents nod each other … and go along with the new weirdnesses. Or just go silent.  

Either choice is a form of surrender.

Then they’re shocked when their own children become enthusiastic evangelicals of principles and ethics at odds with the family culture. Stunned to learn … even with all of the curriculum rewrites … and millions spent …  that their children lag behind in every measure of educational growth.

But then they reason away their convictions … and their shock … by convincing themselves that they cannot ignore the new realities even if they’re personally disturbed by it all because …  after all …  schools of excellence must be at their inclusive and multicultural best, right?

And dopey parents then nod each other because who can argue with that sort of brain soot.

And, no, these are not imaginings.

This great upheaval is not confined to our schools. It’s transformed our politics, crept into our religions, and even oozed into our sports and entertainment.

But there’s no doubt about it … classrooms are the new societal petri dishes that will grow the future of this nation because  … what we see in the classrooms of today, will take root in the America of tomorrow.

So we’d better be careful of what seeds are sown there. And who does the sowing.

That should be easy enough for hayseeds like us, right?

Cross-post.

RNC Rejects “One Size Fits All” Approach to Education in Platform

Photo credit: Republican National Committee

Photo credit: Republican National Committee

The Republican National Convention passed a platform yesterday that had a significant section devoted to education. It affirms the supremacy of parents when it comes to education and rejects one-size-fits-all approaches to education and embraces of local control.

Below is the relevant text:

Parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing. We support a constitutional amendment to protect that right from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations. We reject a onesize-fits-all approach to education and support a broad range of choices for parents and children at the state and local level. We likewise repeat our longstanding opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it. Their education reform movement calls for choice-based, parent-driven accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of local control of our schools and it wisely sees consumer rights in education — choice — as the most important driving force for renewing education. It rejects excessive testing and “teaching to the test” and supports the need for strong assessments to serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs.

You can read the platform here. The education section is on pages 33-36.

New Mexico Parents…. No Opt Out for You!!!!

new-mexico-state-flag

A story I read by A.P. Dillion reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi, but instead of saying “no soup for you!” The education establishment is saying to parents “no opt-out for you!”

In contrast to a bill that just passed the Alaska Legislature that recognizes a parent’s natural right of control over their child’s education, New Mexico is apparently telling schools there is no opt-out option.

Dillion shared this excerpt from a story in the Rio Rancho Observer about the number of refusals to take PARCC has dropped in the Rio Rancho Public School District. They quote Beth Pendergrass who is a spokesperson for Rio Rancho Public Schools in Rio Rancho, NM.

Still, RRPS does not believe parents really have the right to opt out, according to RRPS spokeswoman Beth Pendergrass.

“We call them ‘refusals’ here just because we feel like ‘opt-out’ implies that there is an option for students not to take the test, and we really don’t think there is an option, but parents have refused to allow their kids to take the test,” she said.

The New Mexico Public Education Department also believes that there is no refusal option, citing federal mandates that students complete statewide assessments.

So apparently parental “disobedience” is on the decrease in the school district as fewer students are “refusing” the test.

Regarding federal mandates… here I thought with the Every Student Success Act states could include opt-outs in their state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. You mean the state of New Mexico didn’t interpret it that way? What about all of that control states were supposed to get from this latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act?

It doesn’t exist.

Alaska Legislature Passes Important Parental Rights Bill

Alaska State Flag by Ed Keith (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)

Photo credit: Ed Keith (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)

The Alaska Legislature just passed a major piece of legislation that recognizes parental rights in education including a parent’s right to opt their children out of standardized testing.

HB 156 will go to the Governor Bill Walker’s desk.

Some of the pertinent language:

(a) A local school board shall, in consultation with parents, teachers, and school administrators, adopt policies to promote the involvement of parents in the school district’s education program. The policies must include procedures

(1) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to object to and withdraw the child from a standards-based assessment or test required by the state;

(2) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to object to and withdraw the child from an activity, class, or program;

(3) providing for parent notification not less than two weeks before any activity, class, or program that includes content involving human reproduction or sexual matters is provided to a child;

(4) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to withdraw the child from an activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment or test required by the state for a religious holiday, as defined by the parent;

(5) providing a parent with an opportunity to review the content of an activity, class, performance standard, or program;

(6) ensuring that, when a child is absent from an activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment or test required by the state under this section, the absence is not considered an unlawful absence under AS 14.30.020 if the child’s parent withdrew the child from the activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment or test or gave permission for the child’s absence.

This doesn’t change Alaska’s standards which are essentially Common Core, but this is a win for parents who were having issues opting their students out of assessments and certain classes, like sex ed. This is something all states should do if they haven’t already. While parents have a natural right to opt their children out of assessments it is so much easier when the government cooperates with parents rather than oppose them.

Star-Ledger Says NJ Parents Who Opted-Out of PARCC are “Sabotaging the Data”

new-jersey-state-flagHubris.

And that raises a core question for opponents of this test, and all those who boycotted it: Would New Jersey somehow be better off not knowing these facts? To ask that question is to answer it. The notion is absurd.

The PARCC test, unlike earlier standardized tests, is designed to help teachers and principals identify exactly where kids are learning, and where they are struggling. That can help educators tailor their lessons to be more effective.

It also allows states to compare their performance to other states, with an apples to apples measure. Under the current system, each state offers its own tests. That allows them to claim success when their only real accomplishment is to lower the bar to artificially boost scrores. That’s known as the “honesty gap” which many educators, and leaders like former Gov. Tom Kean, have decried.

Perhaps most important, these tests could be an important tool in the fight to close the achievement gap between black and white students, which stubbornly persists in New Jersey — not just between cities and suburbs, but within racially mixed, suburban towns like Montclair. How can we fix that problem if we can’t measure it?

Those who boycotted this test undermined those efforts. Yes, the resistance to testing is understandable, and many educators agree that the load has grown too large. But creative districts are finding ways to cope with that, like eliminating some of their own tests in favor of the PARCC exams, which offers this more authoritative evaluation.

And remember: Those who boycott the tests are affecting more than their own children. They are sabotaging the data for all children in New Jersey.

First it’s debatable whether the data will produce any meaningful results.  Wasn’t this what we were told when No Child Left Behind passed?  Did we see any significant changes in the quality of public K-12 education?  Second, if opting out “sabotages” the data – by all means keep it up!

The Star-Ledger editorial board obviously cares more about data mining than they do parental rights.

Delaware Legislature Sends Opt-Out Bill to Governor

delaware-state-flagLast week the Delaware Senate approved HB 50 a bill introduced by State Representative John Kowalko (D-Newark) that allows parents to opt their kids out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  It also requires school districts to notify parents about their rights to opt their children out before the assessment is given.  The bill originally passed the Delaware House on a 31 to 5 vote on Tuesday last week.  The Senate later passed the bill on a 15 to 6 vote on Friday.

“This is a sincere and honest attempt to clarify in state law that parents have a constitutionally guaranteed right to direct their children’s education,” Kowalko told DelawareOnline.com.

The desk lands on Governor Jack Markell’s desk.  His Secretary of Education Mark Murphy has warned that the Feds could withhold as much as $90 million dollars.  The 10th Amendment Center reports that the Feds threatened states like Illinois, Colorado, Oregon and Oklahoma who considered opt-out bills this legislative session.  No Child Left Behind requires that school districts within a state assess 95% of their students.  The opt-out measures threaten that, especially in light of how many parents and students were taking this action nationwide before state laws gave them additional legal cover.

Markell has said that he does not support the bill.  The Delaware Constitution says that the Legislature can pass a law vetoed by the Governor with a 60% supermajority (which they have).  The Governor also has 10 days after a bill is presented (not including Sundays) to act on a bill or it will automatically become law.

Illinois House Passes Parental Opt-Out Bill

illinois-state-flagThe Chicago Sun Times reports that the Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 64 to 47 in favor of a bill that give parents a “formal way” to opt-out their students out of assessments – in particular PARCC.

“This bill wouldn’t take PARCC away. Opt-out’s happening, it happened last year, it happened this year, it will happen next year whether we pass this bill or not,” state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said.  ”All this bill does is create a clear process and take the student out of the role as the decision maker.”

Guzzardi, sponsor of HB306, said that now if parents think the state standardized test is inappropriate they tell their children to refuse to take the test, putting them in an awkward position. Some older students are opting out on their own without consulting their parents.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, a longtime supporter of the school reform movement, has threatened to veto the opt-out bill and has been leaning on Republican lawmakers to vote “no.” The governor’s administration worries Illinois could lose federal funding for poor students — or local control over that money — if more than 5 percent of students statewide refuse to take the PARCC.

A Republican governor is leaning on Republican lawmakers to short circuit parental rights… terrific.  To be clear here, Illinois parents do not need an opt-out law to opt-out, this bill just makes it less messy.

A Weak Slate of Common Core Related Bills in Connecticut

connecticut-state-capitolThere are a number of Common Core-related bills that have been filed in the Connecticut General Assembly.  They’ve been extremely busy and I can’t say I’m extremely encouraged.  There are no Common Core repeal bills.  There are some that would codify the implementation of Common Core and Smarter Balanced, but just slow it down.

One bill would require the state to provide curriculum and resources for it.  The data bills are not, frankly, very strong.  Review and study bills would be ok if they specified a replacement for Common Core, but they don’t.

The best bills below are the ones that address parental rights, and the ability to opt students out of assessments those are good bills.

Proposed S.B. No. 344 – This bill slows the implementation of the Common Core and Smarter Balanced.  I couldn’t support this bill because of the ultimate end – the implementation of the Common Core and Smarter  Balance.  I will give the bill’s author props for this.  It does reflect a better plan for how new standards and assessments should be rolled out in order to cause less stress on teachers and students.

Here is the text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to phase in implementation of the common core state standards and Smarter Balanced assessments as follows: (1) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to three, inclusive, (2) for the school year commencing July 1, 2017, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to six, inclusive, (3) for the school year commencing July 1, 2019, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to nine, inclusive, and (4) for the school year commencing July 1, 2021, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive.”

The bill was introduced by State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton).

Proposed S.B. No. 785 – This would allow for changes to the Common Core State Standards to be made.  The process of how this would happen is not clear.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to make revisions to the Common Core State Standards curriculum.”  This bill was introduced by State Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington).

Proposed H.B. No. 5544 is a pretty awful bill.  It calls for the state to provide support by supplying schools and teachers with curriculum necessary to teach the Common Core.

Text of bill: “That chapter 163 of the general statutes be amended to require the Department of Education to make available to local and regional boards of education all necessary literature and curriculum materials relating to the Common Core State Standards to be used by teachers in the development of teaching plans.” This was introduced by State Representative Dave Yaccarino (R-North Haven).

Proposed H.B. No. 6005 would eliminate unfunded education mandates.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to repeal all unfunded education mandates.”  This bill was introduced by State Representative Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield).

There are related bills that also address unfunded education mandates: Proposed S.B. No. 333Proposed H.B. No. 5465, Proposed H.B. No. 5619Proposed H.B. No. 5620 and Proposed H.B. No. 6411.

Then some proposed constitutional amendments related to unfunded mandates: H.J. No. 17H.J. No. 31H.J. No. 32Proposed S.J. No. 6, and Proposed S.B. No. 761.

There are several bills related to assessments.

Proposed H.B. No. 5138 – This bill would prohibit student assessments from being used in teacher evaluations.

Text of bill: “That subsection (a) of section 10-151b of the general statutes be amended to prohibit the use of student performance data on mastery examinations, conducted pursuant to section 10-14n, among the multiple indicators of student academic growth for purposes of teacher performance evaluations.” This bill was introduced by State Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury).  Proposed H.B. No. 5400 is pretty much identical to this bill and was introduced by State Representative Melissa Zobran (R-East Haddam).  Also Proposed H.B. No. 5681 is identical and was introduced by State Representative Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford).  I assume that these legislators will join forces at some point in time and we’ll see just one bill.

Proposed H.B. No. 5139 – This bill would allow parents to review their children’s responses on standardized assessments.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to authorize the parent or guardian of a student who has taken a mastery examination to review the responses of such child on such mastery examination.” This bill was also introduced by State Representative Srinivasan.

Proposed H.B. No. 5398 – This is an act concerning the parental opt-out of state-wide examinations for students.  It would allow parents to opt their students out of Smarter Balanced.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to allow the parent or guardian of a student to opt their child out of taking the mastery examination.”  This bill was introduced by State Representative Ziobran.

Proposed H.B. No. 5547 – This bill concerns student testing for juniors in high school.

Text of the bill: “That chapter 163 of the general statutes be amended to require the Department of Education to conduct a study of student testing during the junior year of high school and to make recommendations to the General Assembly for legislation regarding ways to spread out such testing requirements over three years of high school.”  This bill was introduced by State Representative Kathleen McCarthy (R-Waterford).

Proposed H.B. No. 5680 – A bill that calls for a study of the effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards to help policymakers evaluate whether and to what extent the Common Core State Standards are working or should be modified.  Introduced by State Representatives Jesse MacLachlan (R-Westbrook) and Devin Carney (R-Old Saybrook).

Proposed H.B. No. 6422 – This bill would repeal the requirement that juniors in high school take the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to repeal the requirement that students in grade eleven take the mastery examination.” This bill was introduced by State Representatives Ziobron and Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison).

Proposed H.B. No. 6609 – This bill would establish a biennial schedule for statewide assessments.  Against it does nothing to remove Smarter Balanced, but it does reduce the assessment burden on students.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to require students enrolled in grades three, five and seven to take the mastery examination.”  This bill was introduced by State Representative Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford).

Proposed H.B. No. 6610 – This bill would require the Connecticut Department of Education to seek a waiver from No Child Left Behind which would be necessary in order for a biennial schedule for assessments to be allowed.

Text of the bill: “That the Department of Education be required to seek a waiver from requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, from the United States Department of Education that permits the state to require only those students enrolled in grades three, five, seven and eleven to take the mastery examination.”  This bill was also introduced by State Representative Rojas.

Then a couple of bills related to parental rights.

Proposed H.B. No. 6607 – An act concerning the parental rights and responsibilities in the education of their children.  This bill is sponsored by State Representative Minnie Gonzalez (D-Hartford).  The purpose of the bill: “To allow parents to exercise their rights to freely decide how their children are educated based on their own morals and values.

Proposed H.B. No. 6238 – Establishes a Parents Bill of Rights.  This bill is also sponsored by State Representative Gonzalez.

This bills is remarkably short.  It simply says, “That the general statutes be amended to establish a parents’ bill of rights to ensure that parents have enforceable legal rights.”

Then there are several bills related to the state’s P20 WIN Council (Preschool through 20 Workforce Information Network) this is Connecticut’s inter-agency longitudinal data system.

Proposed H.B No. 5998 – This bill calls for a review of the practices and policies of the P20 WIN Council.

Text of the bill: “That the general statutes be amended to (1) review the practices and policies of the P20 WIN Council, including the Executive Board, Data Governing Board and Data Steward Committee, (2) review all associated state contracts with the P20 WIN Council, and (3) establish rules regarding the scope and expansion of the P20 WIN Council and the use of data collected by the P20 WIN Council.” This bill was introduced by State Representative Mike Bocchino (R-Greenwich).

Proposed H.B. No. 6009 – This bill would establish an oversight board for the P20 Win Council.

Text of the bill: “That the general statutes be amended to establish an oversight board for the P20 WIN Council that is responsible for ensuring that all student information collected by the P20 WIN Council is used appropriately.” This bill was introduced by State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield).

Proposed H.B. No. 6012 – This bill is intended to ensure that students’ privacy is protected when educational records are collected by the P20 WIN Council.  This bill is vague, and does not provide clarification about information can be collected.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to require that all identifying information is removed from student data collected by the P20 WIN Council and to clarify what information is permitted to be collected from a student’s educational records.”  This bill was also introduced by State Representative McCarthy Vahey.

Proposed H.B. No. 6420 – the intent of this bill is to protect student privacy.  Since FERPA has been gutted and in desperate need of updating this bill is pretty much worthless.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to limit the student data that may be collected by the P20 WIN Council, for purposes of inclusion in a state-wide longitudinal data system, to only those educational records permitted to be collected under federal law.” This bill was introduced by State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan) and State Senator Boucher.

Proposed H.B. No. 6415 – This bill would prohibit the dissemination of student data by 3rd party vendors.

Text of the bill: That the general statutes be amended to require any third-party vendor who collects student data from the P20 WIN Council or the state longitudinal data system to enter into an agreement with the council that such third-party vendor will not disclose, sell or share such student data without the express written consent of parents, guardians or students who are eighteen years of age or older.”  This bill was also introduced by State Representative O’Dea and State Senator Boucher.

Here are some other student data bills that have also been introduced which I’ll just list here for brevity’s sake: