Student Information and Certain Student Data is Not Merely the "Product" of Education -- It's Actually "Property"

By Laurie Rogers

If data is just a "product," it is a thing individual to itself, which can be bought and sold, as a tea cup or a pair of shoes. The powers seem to see it that way, something they can use and market -- rather than as something inherently ours, which no one can take from us without our permission. Our personal data is being taken from us without our permission -- often without our knowledge, without a warrant, and in the face of our objections, but we have the right under the Constitution to keep property that belongs to us. If people take our property without our permission, the courts call that "theft."

In my view, the lifting of personal data is an affront to our right to be secure in our persons and effects, which makes the data collection in conflict with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution:

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


Not all of the data being collected is pertinent to student work, or even to the student. Data is being collected ON the student, and ON the student's family and even on the family's outside relationships and history. It isn't work; it's intrinsic to a human being. It's intrinsic to people who are not technically part of the public school system. That is a part of being secure in our persons.

Is it an actual theft and redistribution of personal property? I think so. I wonder if a court – even such a court as one might find today – would think so. I think it could be successfully argued by someone reasonably well versed in constitutional law.



For more information on the author, Laurie H. Rogers:
Book: "Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do about it"
Blog: "Betrayed" - a blog on education: http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com
Email: wlroge@comcast.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100001558556739
Twitter: @LaurieHRogers

Why is a Monopoly in the K-12 Textbook Market Potentially Dangerous for Public Education?

Pearson Publishing owns 80% of the U.S. textbook market. 

Pearson also developed both Common Core aligned high-stakes assessments, Smarter Balanced Assessments and PARCC Assessments, which many have complained are more psychological and sociological than academic.

Below is just one example of how Pearson inappropriately inserts its own political bias into unrelated subjects, such as English grammar.

 

Protecting Local Control

Attached is a Tri-fold brochure on Protecting Local Control in New Hampshire:

Why the National Education Association (NEA) is asking for Arne Duncan's resignation.

Why the NH Commissioner of Education should also resign.

Which Candidates running for NH Senate or NH House of Representatives are opposed to Common Core?

NEA Passes Resolution Asking for Arne Duncan's RESIGNATION

Just how out of touch with parents, teachers and teachers' unions is Arne Duncan, promoting his controversial education agenda?

"Delegates to the National Education Association's annual convention passed a new business item July 4 calling for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.

"The surprising move comes on the heels of union anger over moves across the United States to revise due-process protections, tenure, and seniority—some of which have been supported by Democrats, including the Obama administration."

 

The NEA Representative Assembly joins other educators and parents in calling for the resignation of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan for the Department’s failed education agenda focused on more high-stakes testing, grading and pitting public school children against each other based on test scores and for continuing to promote policies and decisions that undermine public schools and colleges, the teaching profession, education professionals and education unions. 

Rationale: Secretary Duncan once again showed his lack of understanding of education law and policy, his disregard of the true challenges facing our students and schools, and his disrespect for the hard-working educators in our schools and colleges across the country when he tweeted, “Today’s court decision is a mandate to fix these problems.” immediately following the flawed verdict in Vergara v. State of California, striking down laws protecting teachers from arbitrary firings, supporting due process rights and providing transparency in layoff decisions. While educators recognize the administration’s focus on bringing more resources to public education, the policies of Secretary Duncan from Race to the Top, to NCLB waivers, to teacher evaluation have been more top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates focused on high-stakes testing and using test scores to punish students, educators and schools. Since the beginning, Duncan’s department has been led by graduates of the Broad Academy, Education Trust-West and other organizations determined to scapegoat teachers and their unions. Most recently, some of these former Obama administration staffers announced a national campaign attacking educators’ rights. Authentic education change only comes when all stakeholders – teachers, parents, administrators and the community – work together to best meet the needs of the students in their school or college. Teachers are not the problem. Teachers are part of the solution. And it’s time we have a Secretary of Education who understands and believes that.

 

Arne Duncan should have taken notice of a previous warning by the NEA, teachers' union.

On July 3, 2011 the National Education Association's legislative body  adopted the following resolution:

The NEA Representative Assembly directs the NEA President to communicate aggressively, forcefully, and immediately to President Barack Obama and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that NEA is appalled with Secretary Duncan’s practice of:

1. Weighing in on local hiring decisions of school and school district personnel.

2. Supporting local decisions to fire all school staff indiscriminately, such as his comments regarding the planned firings in Central Falls, RI.

3. Supporting inappropriate use of high-stakes standardized test scores for both student achievement and teacher evaluation, all while acknowledging that the currently available tests are not good.

4. Failing to recognize the shortcomings of offering to support struggling schools or states, but only in exchange for unsustainable state ‘reform’ policy.

5. Focusing too heavily on competitive grants that by design leave most students behind-particularly those in poor neighborhoods, rural areas, and struggling schools-instead of foundational formula funding designed to help all the students who need the most support.

6. Not adequately addressing the unrealistic Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements that brand thriving or improving schools as failures.

7. Forcing local school districts to choose from a pre-determined menu of school improvement models that are unproven and have been shown to be ineffective and bear little resemblance to the actual needs of the school that is struggling.

8. Focusing so heavily on charter schools that viable and proven innovative school models (such as magnet schools) have been overlooked, and simultaneously failing to highlight with the same enthusiasm the innovation in our non-charter public schools.

9. Failing to recognize both the danger inherent in overreliance on a single measurement and the need for multiple indicators when addressing and analyzing student achievement and educators’ evaluations.

10. Failing to recognize the need for systemic change that helps ALL students and relies on shared responsibility by all stakeholders, rather than competitive grant programs that spur bad, inappropriate, and short-sighted state policy.

11. Failing to recognize the complexities of school districts that do not have the resources to compete for funding, particularly in rural America, and failing to provide targeted and effective support for those schools and school districts.

12. Failing to respect and honor the professionalism of educators across this country, including but not limited to holding public education roundtables and meetings without inviting state and local representatives of the teachers, education support professionals, and faculty and staff; promoting programs that lower the standards for entry into the profession; focusing so singularly on teachers in the schools that the other critical staff members and higher education faculty and staff have been overlooked in the plans for improving student learning throughout their educational careers.

13. Perpetuating the myth that there are proven, top-down prescribed ‘silver bullet’ solutions and models that actually will address the real problems that face public education today, rather than recognizing that what schools need is a visionary Secretary of Education that sets broad goals and tasks states, local schools districts, schools, educators, and communities with meeting those goals.

Further, the NEA Representative Assembly directs the NEA Executive Committee to develop and implement an aggressive action plan in collaboration with state and local leaders that will address the issues above.

Claiming "White Privilege" Racially Divides Communities and is Being Used as an Excuse to Destroy Public Education


Claiming “white privilege" is designed to provoke guilt and divide the community against itself.

Advocates against "white privilege" want to narrow the achievement gap in schools by eliminating leveling.  However, eliminating leveling in middle school and high school will not help anyone.  There is absolutely no evidence that de-leveling closes any academic gaps.  None. This is an age old education reform fad that was previously tried and failed.

Eliminating levels will result in lowered expectations for the entire student body.  Mixed ability level classes demand the use of “differentiated instruction,” a teaching method which requires intensive ongoing training and smaller class sizes to be effective.

De-leveling is far more likely to discourage both highly motivated students and under motivated students alike. Neither will be able to get the instruction they need given the disparity in the classroom.  Teachers will not be able to provide the challenges that some students want, while also providing the support and remediation that others need.  Everyone: students, teachers and parents alike will be discouraged and disappointed with the outcome of de-leveling.  

At the recent Common Core forum in St. Anselm, one panelist argued that he had unearned "white privilege." 

"The reason why I helped write the standards and the reason why I am here today, is that as a white male in society, I was given a lot of privilege that I didn't earn."  Common Core Debate, May 19, 2014 at St. Anselms College, NH Institute of Politics, Manchester, NH -- Min. 1:52:00

Supposedly this is why he helped write the Common Core ELA standards.  Never mind the fact that he’s a history teacher writing English standards, this protestation of "white privilege" does not ring true.

If Dr. David Pook had any genuine regret over his "white privileged" upbringing -- or any real interest in helping the disadvantaged students of color, -- he'd immediately resign his position at the elite Derryfield school and get to work in an urban inner city public school.  Pook refuses to do that.

Bemoaning "white privilege" doesn't help anyone. It is cheap trick which is being used nationwide to further a radical political agenda.  It exploits the suffering of one group of society and pits them against another group.

Basing education philosophy upon "white privilege" does not improve education, nor will it build our sense of community.  In fact, it is designed to further damage those it pretends to help.

 

 

In Chicago the federal government has approved a No Child Left Behind Waiver that provides for a radical approach to rating public schools.  Illinois students of different racial backgrounds no longer will be held to the same standards Latinos and blacks, low-income children and other groups will have lower targets than whites and Asians for passing state exams. Creation of these racial groups and variable standards is the subject of much criticism.

Seems that education reformers not only want lower standards for minority students, but also to prevent students with "white privilege" from moving ahead of their peers.

 

Check out what this Michigan Elementary School did to "build self-esteem" and prevent "white privilege":

The need for ability will be kept to a minimum.

"Since we believe that all of our children are winners, the need for athletic ability and the competitive “urge to win” will be kept to a minimum."

 

"Were our Governors and Supes Duped?"

Were our Governors and Supes Duped?

by Alyson Williams


The current approach to education reform in the U.S. reminds me of a famous scene in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. Tom needs to whitewash an entire fence before he can get on with what he’d really like to be doing. Not able to get the job done on his own he comes up with a clever plan and one by one gets the neighborhood boys to take over his work by making the job look really appealing, by convincing them it is something that want to do of their own accord, and with the flattery that only certain people were capable of doing it. After all, Aunt Polly was “awful particular” and didn’t trust Jim, or Sid with the job. (A little bribery might have come into play as well.)

I find in the dialog between Tom and his first dupe an especially uncanny metaphor for the adoption process of Common Core and the other Stimulus-driven education reforms.

Tom expresses doubt that his friend Ben can be trusted with such the important task at hand saying, “If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it …”

Ben assures Tom that he’ll be careful and offers, “Say – I’ll give you the core of my apple.” And then as he sees Tom hesitate, he adds, “I’ll give you ALL of it.”

“Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart… the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material; boys happened along every little while; they came to jeer, but remained to whitewash.”

The narrator observes of Tom, “He had a nice, good, idle time all the while – plenty of company – and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn’t run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.”

The vignette concludes by pointing out that Tom “had discovered a great law of human action… that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do” but that people would happily work at doing something if it was voluntary.

Oh, the irony of new ELA standards that trade to the info-text vocabulary of the 21st-century, global workforce the time once spent feasting on classic stories. Stories that, like this one, would serve as a cautionary tale to Governors and Superintendents racing to support common education standards for our nation when they would likely never had been such enthusiastic participants if the proposition had been assigned or decreed. But, when deftly positioned as a voluntary “state-led” initiative, and presented along with the ego-stroking idea of themselves as the only leaders who could be entrusted with such an important task, the Common Core State Standards Initiative swept Governors and Superintendents into bids of what they each might offer (in the form of Race to the Top grant applications and often the entirety of the cost of such commitments when the grant was not awarded) for the honor of participating.

As chief reformer, Education Secretary Arne Duncan later bragged to an international audience at UNESCO of the success of this strategy, “… today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.” http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

As a result, the fence standing between reformers who would centralize key aspects of public education and their goal of getting on to more mischief with our local schools was whitewashed in record time. The dupes gave up the whole apple and more, and just like Aunt Polly, the unsuspecting citizen accepted the trickery as a praiseworthy achievement.

In the engaging tale of an American boy, Twain gives insight into what motivates people (think of it as leadership training 101) but also alerts would-be dupes against such schemes as the one currently enabling a concentration of power over the education of the rising generation. In recognizing this, we begin to see the power of a good story to develop both literacy and wisdom regardless of the century or the economy. It might also lead one wonder if we really want students to spend more time dissecting excerpts of everyday informational text (falsely characterized as "critical thinking") or whether we all would be better off with a little more Tom Sawyer or other classic works that have outlived the educational and political fads by masterfully capturing human interactions in language that speaks to our hearts and souls, motivates us to learn more, and gifts us timeless ideas and ideals to think critically about.  

 

NH's Statewide Longitudinal Data System

The US Department of Education has developed a uniform "Statewide Longitudinal Data System" to collect student information in each state.  This data is being collected to create a nationwide data base to "transform education."

Intrusive Data Tracking

Federal grants were used by states to build expensive these high-tech data systems that track student performance and other personal data and provide that information directly to the federal government.

“Hopefully, some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career.” – U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, from a June 8, 2009 speech

In 2011, the NH Department of Education applied for a federal grant to develop its statewide longitudinal data system. 

In order to obtain these federal funds, states was required to detail its effort to institute rigorous teacher and principal evaluation systems, data systems that specifically connect individual teachers with individual students, and data systems that compile student-level data from preschool through higher education.

This data system is being used to collect up to 400 data points per student. This private student and teacher information is being transferred to the federal government.

According to the minutes of the NH Board of Education, New Hampshire's statwide longitudinal data system went operational in New Hampshire in April 2012.

Here is the grant application New Hampshire Department of Education submitted to acquire the federal funds for its data system:

Application for Grant under the Statewide, Longitudinal Data Systems

On page 75 of this grant application, the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee details NH's commitment to institute rigorous teacher and principal evaluation systems:

 

Notice that Sen. Nancy Stiles mentioned 2011 SB 196 which created "a teacher evaluation process."

RSA 189:14-a (b) School boards shall have a teacher performance evaluation policy.

 

However, that was not sufficient. Two years later the US Department of Education made additional mandates that resulted in more legislation.  This time the mandates were to meet the requirements of NH's No Child Left Behind or ESEA Waiver application.  In order to obtain the waiver three pieces of legislation was required, one of which was 2013 HB 142, which included the following:

RSA 189:1-a III. School boards shall adopt a teacher performance evaluation system, with the involvement of teachers and principals, for use in the school district. A school board may consider any resources it deems reasonable and appropriate, including any resources that may be provided by the state department of education. In this paragraph, “teacher” shall have the same meaning as in RSA 189:14-a, V.

[RSA 189:14-a, V. “Teacher” means any professional employee of any school district whose position requires certification as a professional engaged in teaching. The term “teacher” shall also include principals, assistant principals, librarians, and guidance counselors.

 

No doubt, with the renewal, which is actually a one year extension, of NH's two year No Child Left Behind waiver, more legislation will be required to meet the federal government's ever increasing demands.

 

 

Common Core Violates 3 Federal Laws

 

Common Core as currently implemented directly violates or comes to the very edge of the line of these three federal laws. Particularly the last one below is in process of being violated as states are required to incur costs of this implementation that are not funded by the federal government (with taxpayer money).

From the General Education Provisions Act (20 USC § 1232a)

“No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, or to require the assignment or transportation of students or teachers in order to overcome racial imbalance.”

From the Department of Education Organization Act (20 USC § 3403(b))

“No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any such officer to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, over any accrediting agency or association, or over the selection or content of library resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, except to the extent authorized by law.”

From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 USC 7907(a))

“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State and local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.