Common Core: Cash Cows and Guinea Pigs
Arizona students will have a new Common Core in the fall of 2018. The experience of the state of Arizona is indicative of the insidiousness of Common Core standards. States have trouble ditching Common Core. Note that Arizona students are stuck with the current Common Core until 2018; nothing will have changed, even when they return to school next fall.
The Arizona Board of Education adopted Common Core K-12 English Language Arts and Math standards in June of 2010. Parents and teachers weren’t advised of the change nor were they asked to grant permission before this massive overhaul of the state’s education plans took place.
Finally in 2015, the state succeeded in getting released “from the copyright that would have prevented the state from making changes to the standards.” That copyright allows states to make changes to only 15% of the standards. The release and changes that will take effect in 2018 follow another ineffective rebranding or renaming of the standards that happened under previous state leadership. At that time the name was changed from Common Core to “Arizona College and Career Ready” standards, but it was still Common Core. It is still Common Core, in most respects, according to anti-Common Core watchdogs in Arizona and elsewhere.
Arizona applied for a federal Race to the Top grant, the carrot on a stick held out by the Obama administration to force cash-strapped states to adopt the standards in the midst of a recession. Arizona applied for a $250 million grant but only received $25 million. Arizonans Against Common Core report that the State Board of Education estimated Common Core would cost $131 million in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 alone. This does not include the Arizona Association of School Business Officials estimates of $157 million for instruction-related costs, and an additional $230 million for enhanced Internet access and computer costs to administer the Common Core-mandated tests.
Arizona taxpayers were a cash cow and the students were guinea pigs.
About the 2016 Revision
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas and the State Board of Education say they’ve replaced Common Core by “formally adopting the second draft of the 2016 Arizona English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards.” According to Douglas, “These new standards represent the final step in the repeal and replacement of Common Core in Arizona and they reflect the thoughts and recommendations of thousands of Arizona citizens.”
Douglas, Arizona’s Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction, was elected to office in 2014 by one percentage point over her opponent, on a platform that promised to repeal Common Core. The previous Common Core rebrand didn’t fool or appease Common Core opponents.
Douglas was sworn into office in January of 2015. She has a background in accounting and finance; she is not an educator and has no public policy experience. Immediately after her election, a recall effort was launched because of what opponents called her lack of qualifications. The recall effort was defeated.
But Douglas still hasn’t really gotten rid of Common Core. She says the state didn’t need to change everything about the standards. The Board of Education and the superintendent claim Common Core (Arizona College and Career Ready standards, phase 2) is better now.
Arizona added back in cursive handwriting! Imagine that. Students will know how to write their own names and hopefully how to read the handwriting of others.
In math, second graders will now memorize math sums and third graders “are expected to memorize multiplication and division tables through 10 x 10.” This development is only monumental because according to Common Core, it was not required.
Another non-Common Core item added back is “learning about time and money in early grades.”
In high school, allowances will be made for including “high-school-level math courses that are not required for graduation.” In other words, students might be able to fit in calculus. Not allowing for it was one indication that the allusion to “college ready” in the standards always meant ready for community college.
And the dreaded English Language Arts requirement that students must read “informational texts,” like EPA standards and other boring government documents for 70% of English class, while “literary” is assigned a paltry 30%, will now be determined more by local school boards instead of by a copyrighted set of standards (that were previously tested nowhere and based on nothing more than the whim of the bureaucrats who wrote them).
Unhappy Anti-Common Core Experts
If there’s anything parents, teachers, and citizens have learned from scrutinizing Common Core since 2009, it is that up often means down, right can mean wrong, and our elected officials don’t always tell the truth.
Douglas says, “We now have new standards that have been worked on by Arizona teachers, parents and been vetted by anti-Common Core experts.” But Arizona anti-Common Core activists disagree.
In fact, at the Arizonans Against Common Core website, the new changes are referred to in “lipstick on a pig” terms.
“Some parents who opposed Common Core-based standards were taken off-guard by the vote because they were under the impression there would be another month to review the proposed standards.” reports The Arizona Republic (12-19-16).
On December 14, at the Arizona Standards Development Committee meeting, there were concerns that comments by parents were being ignored. So the committee delayed voting to approve or disapprove the standards until January. But the State Board of Education circumvented its own rules and ignored both the committee and the delay. They voted instead to approve the standards on December 19 by a vote of 8 to 1.
Arizonans Against Common Core (AACC) say, “it shows they truly do not care what parents think about educating our children.” At their website, AACC states: “Both Superintendent Douglas and Governor Ducey were elected to stop Common Core, yet by their recent actions in ‘rebranding Common Core’ a second time, it clearly shows they never had any intention to stop Common Core.”
It’s up to Arizonans and other observers to decide who to believe. And it’s up to Arizona K-12 students to buckle up for more years of being used as guinea pigs. (AZed.gov, 12-21-16) (ArizonansAgainstCommonCore.com)
The Trumpian Future of Education
While some hope President Donald J. Trump will shutter the Department of Education, that is not likely to happen. Ronald Reagan didn’t do it and many believe that rather than turning off the lights and locking the doors, a diminished role that includes monitoring and reporting is the best solution at an agency that has become a morass of regulations and overstepped boundaries.
A Heritage Foundation video posted on Facebook on December 8 offers suggestions for Trump’s choice of Education Secretary. Heritage hopes Betsy DeVos will take the following steps once the Republican administration takes over the Dept. of Education, or at least within the first one-hundred days.
1. Support states as they work to exit Common Core
2. Call on Congress to pass the A-Plus Act returning power to the states
3. Reauthorize the Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program
4. Cancel the Department of Education guidance on transgender bathrooms
5. Rescind the Obama administration’s heavy-handed education regulations
6. Create Education Savings Accounts for students at Bureau of Indian Education schools
The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke believes college loans should also be a priority. Burke, a fellow in education policy at the conservative think tank, doesn’t want a Bernie Sandersesque free-college solution — she’s smarter than that. Instead, Burke says, “In order to decrease loan burdens and place pressure on colleges to rein in college costs, the PLUS loan program should be eliminated in order to make way for more flexible private funding alternatives.”
PLUS is a major contributor to dramatic increases in college tuition. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The PLUS programs impose no lending limits, allowing parents and grad students to borrow whatever is needed to cover tuition after a minimal credit check.” Such schemes have allowed colleges to “raise tuition quickly and hurt some borrowers who have no hope of repaying.”
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) says the current PLUS system is creating the same bubble that caused the housing crash — lenders who gave loans to those who had no chance of repayment. Foxx prefers that Donald Trump shutter the department of education but she doesn’t think that’s likely. (Wall Street Journal, 12-15-16)
Kurt Schlichter, a Trump critic who is now coming around, wrote at TownHall.com on January 2, 2017:
“As 2016 ends, progressives enter the new year terrified that Donald Trump will continue to run circles around them, and their epic meltdown is only going to get more epically meltdownier. They’ve been shrill, stupid, and annoying for the last two months, but brace yourself for the next 12. Fear is going to make them go nuts – not the fear that Trump will be a failure, but the gut-wrenching, mind-numbing fear that Donald Trump will be a success.”
Schlichter continues, “Trump promised to nominate conservatives and he did – do you think that whiny puffball Jeb Bush would have put up a cabinet full of Mad Dogs and activists aching to burn their own useless agencies to the ground?”
If DeVos doesn’t quickly take care of business at the Department of Education, expect to hear the 45th President of the United States tell her “You’re Fired!”
Taking Care of Baby—at College
Pro-abortion activists like to say that anti-abortion groups and individuals only care about babies before they’re born. If such skeptical people were well-educated and informed, they’d find that those who don’t support killing babies in the womb are hard at work supporting parents and making certain that children have the best life they can enjoy.
When students become pregnant during their college years, some schools make it hard for young mothers to attend classes. But other schools provide moral and tangible support.
Students for Life of America “seeks to expose and transform the stigma facing pregnant and parenting college students.” They recently announced this list of twelve public schools that are “particularly welcoming to and accommodating of pregnant and parenting students.”
1. University of Washington, Seattle, WA
2. Los Angeles Valley College, CA
3. Winona State University, Winona, MN
4. Univ. of California, San Diego, CA
5. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
6. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR
7. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
8. Univ. of New Mexico at Albuquerque
9. Texas A & M University, College Station, TX
10. City College of San Francisco, CA
11. Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT
12. Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
The list was compiled as part of the Students for Life in America Pregnant on Campus Initiative. Schools made the list for a variety of reasons, including providing diaper-changing stations, campus daycare centers, dedicated areas where moms can breastfeed, and housing for students with children.
The Planned Parenthood abortion behemoth tells college students that their only option to lead a successful life and have a career is to abort their child. It’s important that other voices are heard by those who are pregnant and wish to stay in school.
According to Students for Life (SFL), “approximately 42% of abortions in America are obtained by college-aged women (age 18-24).” The organization says:
“Too often, pregnant and parenting students feel forced to choose between continuing their education or dropping out to raise their child. College campuses have failed to foster a life-affirming environment and provide the necessary resources for pregnant and parenting students.”
What exactly contributes to making each of the previously listed schools child friendly according to the pro-life organization can be explored at the website, StudentsForLife.org.
Even at college campuses where the administration makes few accommodations for pregnant or childrearing students, the Students for Life Pregnant on Campus Initiative (PregnantOnCampus.StudentsForLife.org) offers help for those who choose life.
On their website, a young woman shares her story of finding out she was expecting after having been married for just eleven months. She went to the student health center to take a pregnancy test. A nurse said: “Well, you’re pregnant. Do you need to talk about abortion?” The young couple let their child live, and Students for Life gave them both moral and material support. This included maternity clothes, baby supplies including a crib, and lunches with SFL members. She says they “became my family.” The young mother has now graduated from the University of New Mexico.
According to SFL, parenting and education don’t need to be mutually exclusive pursuits. (LiveActionNews, 11-7-16) (StudentsForLife.org, 12-21-16)
1984: George Orwell Warned Us
The physical location of children with developmental disabilities, including autism, would be “tracked” if legislation already passed in the House is approved by the Senate. This has alarmed some and brings to mind the sort of dehumanizing “Big Brother” government controls that seemed crazy and impossible at the time George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 was published in 1949.
A change in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 quietly passed in the House on December 8, 2016 by a vote of 346 – 66. Representatives amended Section 201, which concerns the Missing Children’s Assistance Act. If also passed by the Senate, the enacted law would “specify that, with respect to training and technical assistance provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, cases involving missing and exploited children include cases involving children with developmental disabilities such as autism.” (Congress.gov)
This change was introduced in the House earlier in 2016, and called Kevin and Avonte’s Law of 2016, or the Missing Americans Alert Program Act of 2016. According to Congress.gov, the Department of Justice “awards grants to state and local law enforcement or public safety agencies and nonprofit organizations to prevent wandering and locate missing individuals with dementia or developmental disabilities.” Department of Justice grant recipients “must comply with standards and best practices related to the use of tracking technology to locate missing individuals with dementia or developmental disabilities.”
What are these tracking technologies that are yet to be determined by “law enforcement or public safety agencies and nonprofit organizations”? It is hoped they won’t be inserting chips under the skin of children with autism and other developmental issues. Such chip insertion is already done to protect pets and to ensure safe return to their owners.
At this time, wording in the proposed law states that personal information received can’t be stored for use in a database and that participation is “voluntary”; meaning parents can’t be forced to make their children be part of the program. The law also states that they don’t intend to “implant a device or other trackable items.”
It remains to be seen if Americans trust government enough to allow physical tracking of their children. As with other programs meant to ensure “safety,” this sounds to many like a slippery slope.
As reported at DailyCaller.com on December 8, 2016, Representative Louis Gohmert (R-TX) said on the House floor:
“Sponsors of the bill tell us not to worry, because they [have] language in there that says the tracking device cannot be invasive, [and] it is totally voluntary…. It is absolutely staggering that the Republican majorities in the House and Senate could be so blind to government overreach that they would allow a federal tracking program, not for criminals in the U.S., not for terrorists, not for illegal immigrants or even immigrants who commit crimes, but for people with ‘developmental disabilities’ a term that is subject to wide misinterpretation.”
Gohmert said the initiative “may have noble intentions,” but that “‘small and temporary’ programs in the name of safety and security often evolve into permanent and enlarged bureaucracies that infringe on the American people’s freedoms.”
This is a frightening development that could result in the government physically tracking hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18.
The Senate adjourned before taking action but this issue will likely come up again in 2017. Free speech in the nation is already semi-crippled by Orwellian “Newspeak,” which is today called politically correct speech. Many Americans agree that increased Big Brother tactics should be rejected.
Incoming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has a record of support for homeschool families. In an interview in the Spring 2013 edition of Philanthropy magazine, DeVos said, “Homeschooling represents another perfectly valid educational option.” DeVos continued, “We’ve seen more and more people opt for homeschooling, including in urban areas. What you’re seeing is parents who are fed up with their lack of power to do anything about where their kids are assigned to go to school. To the extent that homeschooling puts parents back in charge of their kids’ education, more power to them.”
The president of Chicago’s North Park University confirmed that a bisexual student lied about receiving notes containing homophobic slurs, allegedly from Trump supporters. The senior student initially said such harassment was “an epidemic.” (CampusReform.org, 11-24-16)
A federal jury in Charlottesville, Virginia, ordered Rolling Stone and magazine writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely to pay $3 million to a University of Virginia administrator after the magazine printed a story about a rape that never happened. The ruling of libel concerns a tale claiming fraternity members assaulted a female student. “The jury found that assertions made in the story, as well as public statements made after publication by Ms. Erdely and Rolling Stone, were made with ‘actual malice.’” (New York Times, 11-7-16)
New York police say a Muslim Baruch College student lied when she said Donald Trump supporters attacked her on the subway. The scary truth is that the young woman was so fearful of her father’s reaction to her missed curfew that she felt compelled to make up a complex lie. Also disturbing is that when the student appeared in court to face charges of making a false police report, her parents had shaved her head as punishment. (NY Daily News, 12-15-16)
Book of the Month
The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids, Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Sandahl, TarcherPerigee, 2016, $16
Children do best when parents refrain from over scheduling activities and allow them unstructured free time for play. This is an important tenet of child rearing in Denmark.
Danish citizens have been ranked “happiest” by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development almost every year since 1973. While most Americans might not strive to achieve the sort of “happy” life provided by what some consider to be the welfare state of Denmark, this book offers insight and suggestions for raising confident and capable children.
The American half of this writing team is columnist Jessica Alexander, who is married to a Dane and lives in Europe. Iben Sandahl is a Danish psychotherapist and family counselor.
“Seven chapters of the book spell out the acronym PARENT, signified by the words: Play, Authenticity, Reframing, Empathy, No Ultimatums, and Togetherness.”
Unstructured play is crucial to the proper development of the minds of children. The idea that a child must be constantly entertained is anathema to healthy physical and social development.
Authenticity means dealing with children honestly — saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
Reframing is sort of a do-over philosophy, which offers children a chance to rebound from setbacks and remain hopeful and optimistic that next time will be better.
The “no ultimatums” section might be the least valuable part of this book. The authors seem to confuse acting with authority and acting in an authoritarian manner, although they aren’t at all the same.
The authors’ use of togetherness is best explained by the Danish idea of “hygge.” This trendy word (pronounced HUE-gah) has no direct English translation but can be defined by combining coziness, security, comfort, kinship, joy, and keeping things simple. Hygge’s striving for being “in the moment” and enjoying small rituals as a family is the opposite of keeping children busy or externally entertained. It’s also opposite of a parent perusing Facebook instead of interacting with family.
When Jessica Alexander was first in Denmark, she says she noticed calm and well-behaved Danish children. While she doesn’t criticize American parenting, she believes there’s something to be learned from the “Danish Way.”
The authors say to remember that “parenting is a verb. It takes effort and work to yield positive returns.”
FOCUS: Trump’s Common Core Pick: Betsy DeVos
by Christel Lane Swasey
Christel Lane Swasey is a Utah credentialed 1st-grade to post-secondary teacher who has taught in a variety of settings, including public and charter schools. She was formerly an adjunct professor at Utah Valley University and currently teaches tenth grade at Freedom Project Academy. She writes the blog Common Core: Education Without Representation found at http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com. Article first appeared Dec. 2, 2016, on Swasey’s blog Common Core: Education Without Representation; http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com. Reprinted with permission.
Betsy DeVos, the woman who hopes to be America’s next Secretary of Education, interviews like America’s Sweetheart; her name sounds like Betsy Ross, and she says she’s opposed to Common Core. But where are Betsy DeVos’s loyalties?
The parents who began Stop Common Core in Michigan say DeVos used her Michigan big-funding machine to block, rather than to assist the Stop Common Core parents’ nearly successful legislation that would have repealed Common Core.
DeVos’s Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) sounds like the Michigan version of Utah’s Education First/Prosperity 2020. Organizations like Michigan’s GLEP and Utah’s Education First are wealthy Common Core-promoters that give ear candy to, and then fund, any candidate who is willing to take their ear candy and campaign cash. Then they’re obliged to vote as the Common Core machine calls the shots.
DeVos, like Bill Gates, is on board with Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence (another huge Common Core promo tank). DeVos, like Gates, also wrote checks to the Clinton Foundation.
As Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project recently noted, “It simply doesn’t make sense that DeVos would contribute boatloads of money to — and even lead — organizations that actively push a policy with which she disagrees. Would a pro-life philanthropist write checks to Planned Parenthood because the abortion mill provides the occasional Pap test?”
A true liberty lover would only do this if she, like so many Americans, doesn’t fully understand what the Common Core machine is doing.
I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. I know a lot of good people who have only the vaguest idea what the Common Core machine is doing or will do.
So let’s clarify.
The Common Core machine loves money, not children. It clearly steals from children. It really is that simple.
I’d like to see DeVos speak out about the following:
The Common Core initiative has stolen academic freedom and privacy. It is stealing social-emotional data without parental consent. It is stealing what we used to call classical education. It is stealing the local ability to make decisions about what will be on the test — and, by extension, what will be in the book and on the essay. It is stealing student dollars that could go elsewhere (to teachers, buses, field trips, desks, basketballs, glue sticks, pencils) and is diverting it to tech coffers: Pearson, Microsoft, etc. No profit left behind.
Money, money, money — and comforting ear candy — make the machine’s operators feel great about being its operators.
Ever since Bill Gates openly courted American legislators in 2009 and identified as a “large, uniform base of customers” the sitting ducks (schools) waiting to be bankrolled, schools and legislative ed committees have become the hot market for businesses and philanthropic activists. This power grab, away from parents and local school boards, toward the corporate-governmental partnerships, has been monumental.
Core pushers “ear candy” sells well. They make it sound as if the machine’s primarily about ed tech progress — bringing new, good things to kids — but it’s primarily about adults who love money.
How many ed-tech salesmen, governors, senators, or representatives have really stopped to consider consequences — intentional or unintentional — of the standardizing of everything in education and in education governance?
They’ve pushed data mining without informed parental consent, pushed common, national education-data systems, pushed unvalidated tests, and untried curriculum — on an entire nation of student guinea pigs.
It has been, and continues to be, a mad dash toward Bill Gates’ vision of schools as the shiny, shiny “uniform customer base.”
If you’ve seen the latest Disney movie: remember how the creepy bling-crab looks at Moana? That’s how I picture Mr. Gates’ “Uniform Customer Base.”
Gates, the ed tech corporations, the government data miners, and the business-model charter pushers see dollar bills when they look at schools.
School dollars are so shiny! It’s the money, not what’s best for children, that they see.
But as I watched DeVos’s interview in which she explained her vision of the school choice movement, I thought: she’s sincere in her belief. She really buys the school choice line.
But has she (or have most Americans) really thought it all the way through?
It’s as if we were buying a house. We love the curb appeal and the front door of the School Choice idea. We take a step inside and shout, “Sold!” But, what about the rotted attic that no one
checked? What about the weird, moldy basement? Is there a kitchen? Are there enough bedrooms?
Why aren’t more people asking SERIOUS questions about School Choice and about the Common Core machine? Because the words on the surface just sound good? Because the entryway of the house looks fantastic? Who would be opposed to allowing disadvantaged kids in to better schools? Who wouldn’t like choice? That’s sweet ear candy, right?
The notion of school choice is a false choice, because where government dollars are, government mandates are.
It’s like the old Henry Ford Model T quote: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
Think about it.
Vouchers for school choice are not reimbursed cash; they’re government subsidies, and anything that the government subsidizes, it regulates.
The beauty of private schools has always been freedom. Parents can pay the nuns to teach their Catholic children right out of the Bible. What happens when a disadvantaged child from a Catholic family takes a government voucher to pay for private religious school tuition?
That particular money can destroy that particular school.
By putting vouchers into private schools, we turn those private schools into government-regulated schools (a.k.a. public schools) and those private schools will not longer be free to teach— things like religion or morality. Nor will those private schools be free to continue to protect data privacy of teachers or students; human data is always one of the items that federal monies trade schools for, in exchange for cash. Read that paragraph again.
“He who pays the piper calls the tune” means that if the feds pay then the private schools, as pipers, have to play what they’ve been paid to play. And that’s the music of the Common Core March.
The beauty of (some) charter schools has been the illusion that parents had more say in what went on (almost like a private school). But under Common Core, that’s changing. Many charter schools now have businesses running them, not elected board members running them. Where’s the local control in that? This gets rid of voters’ voices, parents’ voices. With the Great Commonizing, even legitimate, good differences between public schools and charter schools seem very temporary.
Under the Common Core machine — with its federally approved schoolrooms; nationalized “truths” that trump academic freedom; federally urged data mining; disregard for parental consent to data mining; disregard for teaching autonomy — what’s any real, lasting difference between what a child in a charter will experience and what a child in a public school or (eventually) even a private school would ultimately experience? The Common Core march means there will be no real differences permitted at length.
I am guessing that Betsy DeVos doesn’t know that the Common Core machine is building a socialistic factory model of education according to the vision of the Marc Tucker-Clinton conspiracy. I’m guessing, too, that she hasn’t heard (or dismisses) what whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt has been saying for years:
The goal of school choice… is the takeover of the public and private school sectors through partnerships with the corporate sector in order to implement socialist work force training…. Carnegie Corporation, in its little blue book entitled ‘Conclusions and Recommendations for the Social Studies’ 1934, called for using the schools to change our nation’s free market economy to a planned economy.
Hmm — a planned, centralized economy — that means, no local control. I don’t believe that’s what DeVos really hopes to build. I don’t think she, or the Heritage Foundation, or FreedomWorks, have really thought this all the way through while wearing their Constitution-framed glasses.
In an August of 2015 interview as chair of the American Federation for Children,* DeVos said that she wanted people to rethink the public school “system that was brought to us 200 years ago by the Prussians, very much an industrial, factory model of education…. Technology has brought so many new opportunities … we need to allow people who are innovative and creative to come and help us think differently about how we can do education.”
I don’t think she understands that the factory model is exactly where the school choice movement eventually leads: First, it leads there because vouchers can strip private schools of religious, moral, and academic freedom, and second, because if we move away from the elected-board-run public schools to business-owned, no-elected-board charter models, we have erased our own voices and votes even in public education.
Constitution-defending lawyer Kris-Anne Hall explained the trouble with DeVos, with vouchers, and with school choice in a recent podcast. Hall notes that Americans are confused about their desire for limited government and local control versus their desire for big socialist programs:
“Amongst our conservative circles…we want limited government – unless we want government to define marriage. We want limited government – unless we want government to control our consumption of plants. We want limited government– unless it has to do with education.”
Hall also notes that Trump wants to give $20 billion in federal grants to poor children — not to all children. The middle and upper classes are not invited to the school-choice party. Have the Heritage Foundation and Freedom Works considered that?
“As president, I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty. If we can put a man on the moon… we can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America….”
If you remember nothing else from this commentary, remember this:
1. School choice and vouchers are not for all American children; they are for those who the federal government will designate as recipients.
It’s favoritism and it’s socialism and it’s legal plunder:
A pays for B to go to the school of B’s choice. If A doesn’t pay, A goes to jail.
2. Whether B goes to this school or that one is only a partial liberty because all the schools receiving money from government school vouchers must abide by federal regulations, including data mining of children; removing religious and academic liberty from private schools; and controlling teachers.
I would absolutely love to see Betsy DeVos fight for students’ data privacy rights and against the federal Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (CEP).
I very much hope that I’ve read DeVos completely wrong. I hope she’s truly opposed to all that the Common Core nightmare has wrought for schools, teachers, parents, and students.
*DeVos is chair of the American Federation for Children, which is “a national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocation for school vouchers and scholarship tax credit program,” and is affiliated with the Alliance for School Choice.
CEP: A ‘Bipartisan’ Bad Idea
Senators Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) aimed “to make government better serve the people.” But they created legislation signed into law last spring by President Obama that is very scary. Hearings are currently being held about its implementation.
The Evidence-Based Policy Commission Act that created a federal Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP), like all bad ideas, has good intentions. It’s being promoted as an “anti-poverty” effort.
According to Speaker Ryan’s website, it “started with conversations between Speaker Ryan and Senator Murray about ways they could work across the aisle to make government better serve the people.”
Under Common Core, states had to develop State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS). These systems combine personally identifiable information on students in what is called a P-20W system: P=Preschool, 20=higher education, W=Workforce.
Yes, citizens are tracked from preschool through their working years. Parents can’t opt out their children from this intrusive collection of information.
Children are given one UID, or Unique Identifier when entering preschool, which sticks with them as they attend school, change schools, start college, and eventually enter “the workforce.”
CEP will create a comprehensive data clearinghouse, and seeks to combine not only educational data, but data amassed in all other programs as well. Data already collected in SLDS systems includes academic performance, behavioral and health issues, family background, and hundreds of other items of information.
Data is shared not only among agencies but with researchers and other “stakeholders,” a very loose definition meaning anyone to whom CEP decides to grant access.
Documented SLDS data breaches have occurred accidentally; security has been shown to be lax in several instances; and the potential for nefarious or criminal hacking into the information is enormous. (DPI.state.nc.us) (Speaker.gov, 7-26-16)