Monday, November 18, 2013

Speaking Words of Wisdom Let Them Be

Sometimes as a mother, I feel like the worst mother ever. In a world of hyper-uber-super moms, with their iphone calendar booked with soccer games, princess parties, art classes, and mommy and me events; their facebook statuses chock full of pinterest ideas like a realistic 3-d Spiderman organic gluten free homemade cake, a early learning phonics game using play-do and guaranteeing reading proficiency by age three, and daily science project-meets-craft reminders, it is no wonder I feel like crap. I'm the mom who is lucky to remember to get out Valentine's cards. I don't have a daily schedule of fifteen minute increments and activities.

And then...I found this article about learning and said, hallelujah! It made me think in terms of this blog and all that is education as well as into my own child rearing.

Sure, my son has yet to make hand-print turkeys or baloon string art and he isn't in pee wee sports even if he is nearly age three.

I let him play. I thought perhaps I was the worst mom ever for merely giving him tons of praise, love, snuggles, and unstructured play time. I mean, according to his IEP, he needs to know and label 7 body parts not 5. According to TV, with commercials like ABCmouse.com, he should be reading by now. Oops.

But look at "uncivilized" societies. Go into the Kalihari bushmen tribes or Amazonian tribes and watch the kids. They don't have pee-wee football, early reading tablet apps, structured play groups, or a curriculum. They simply learn by playing, mimicing, doing, interacting.

My son does just that. Sure, I pay attention and interact....but I more just,,,facilitate his discoveries. Sometimes he surprises me and does things completely self-taught. He can operate apps and netflix movies on an android tablet, windows computer, Wii, and Xbox console. He can draw and place his masterpiece as a desktop image. He can take photos of monochromatic themes around the home....I found on my iphone camera, monocromatic images- a yellow wall, a blue wall, a brown tile, an orange blanket, a red shirt, the black of a room with the lights turned off, the white of a lightbulb. I didn't teach him these skills. He self taught through trial and error.


Let Them Be part II

I loved this article    http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/ but still wonder...can everything be self-taught? You cannot build a home without a foundation and you must know how to build a foundation first.

I just can't quite believe a child, at, say age 5 can self-educate all the way into a productive adulthood. You need basic math skills and reading skills.

But then- wait. I taught myself to read. My mom read me books daily from birth and I first learned by memorization; "the cat in the hat" was exactly that because I memorized that exact page, but then, I could identify the words the, cat, in, hat outside of the book. I learned hat made, well, the h-a-t sound so b-a-t must be bat. In first grade, I got to sit out of the learn to read lessons and got to go to the 5th grade classroom and pick out books to read.

But still...I think there needs to be some foundation and learning of that foundation.

Maybe have the early primary grades be a mix of tons of play (something we rid of in schools with NCLB and Common Core), expressive creativity (the arts) and unstructured exploration...with a drop here and there of structured learning. As children progress in their years in school, their own self-taught learning takes priority, where the teacher merely facilitates, observes, guides when asked. 

Think about skills you know and use, and knowledge you know and use. Think, how much was 100% taught, half taught, or self taught? Sure I learned gerunds from a teacher but grammar and sentence structure understanding came more through exposure to all the reading and writing I did. I learned from drill and kill, the names and orders of service of our presidents, but I knew little to nothing about the founding fathers until I read, on my own, founding documents and biographies. 

Anyway... what I glean from this article (yet I went off on a tangent) is that a lot of learning is self taught. It works best with one's frame of reference to self teach. It's an organic evolution of learning.

Common Core advocates might read this article (yep referencing it here, again)  and say, "exactly!"  And that's how Common Core brainwashes you. The buzzwords and ideas indicate self-learning and exploration, discussion and discovery, yet they are framed around standards and assessment-bound skills. The idea of self-learning cannot exist within a defined unmovable structure. Instead, you just teach an entire class to look at 3x+ 5y= 24 and say "hey first graders, go at it!" when three children are able to self-teach and figure it out and ten are thinking about drawing a realistic replica of the 3-d perspective of the playground, ten more want to learn how to play the drum solo of that #1 song they love...

The Common Core idea of group think...err..group work and figuring and constructing knowledge still ignores individual differences, abilities, desires.

It also assumes every child must learn skill A,B,C and D in that order and by age 10 or else. It ignores the possibility of learning E or ф or A,D,C. 

Our structured learning blames everything on poverty or teachers, when children in dire poverty can learn to run a laptop. Because they aren't expected to learn A,B,C and merely construct A,B,C because gasp they are curious- something our education seems to kill.

People are not standardized

I was trying to figure out, from my post Taking Back My Own, why I still felt uneasy after posting it and getting all my feelings and thoughts out. Last night, it hit me as an epiphany.

Our children are not standardized. I have said many times, you can not use quantitative methods for qualitative data. People are qualitative. Saying everyone, at, say, age 30 will have two kids, a sports car, 2,000 square foot home, and earn $ 90,000 a year as an accountant, is really the same as saying every child in 5th grade will plot a simple equation on a graph, or, in my case, every two year old will know 7 body parts.

You can standardize machinery or a process but not peope!

Sure, if a graduation senior in high school hasn't a clue how to punctuate a sentence or multiply 3 x 1/2, you havea problem. But to say that child must perform those skills proficiently at an exact age ignores child development theory. Sure we all reach a skill at around the same window of time, but that's just...that. There are anomalies who are still "normal" and the like.

And standards are arbitrary.

For child development under age 3, my child is supposed to go up stairs alternating feet or else it indicates a problem. Sure, he can gallop, skip, throw over and underhand, kick and aim a ball with his toes and side of his foot, but he doesn't alternate feet so there's a "problem".

Sure. he cannot point and name 7 body parts (sorry folks, only 5) but he knows all his colors and can actually not just count to ten but count items up to five, as in one cheerio, two cheerio... but again he is "behind".

He is still learning boy vs girl so yep,, you guessed it, he is behind. But this arbitrary "benchmark" ignores the fact that he can operate the wii remote, xbox remote, and my husband's tablet to operate netflix. He chooses the movie he wants and can fast forward to or replay a favorite scene. Instead of thinking inside the box and clicking the back button to return to the main screen, he fast forwards the movie to the end so it returns to the home screen. He can also open a drawing app on my nook, draw an image, and save it to the desktop, something I even struggle with.

But you know, because some yahoo decided some weird benchmarks, my kid is "behind".

Sure. If he can't walk, he is behind. That's a given. But since instead of pointing when someone says "show me the picture of the doggy", he pants and licks the picture and barks, that's "behind" even though not only did he point (well, with his tongue) he imitates the animal's behaviors.

When I was a young child, I had an IQ test and tested 137. The assessor said my score was surely higher but he could only give me the 137. See, I have horrid vision (my worst eye is 20/1000!) and so my hand-eye coordination was "behind". So when doing the IQ tasks, the assessor could see my mind at work, my eyes staring at things, I'd even say what I was trying to do but my hands fumbled or my lack of depth perception meant I grabbed the wrong item. So I scored lower than I could have. I SAID what needed to be performed but since it sometimes took two grabs to grab an item, that meant I was "slow". Because the test specified "grab..." not "say..."

Standardizing our children ignores what they CAN do and points out what they CANNOT do.

This is a problem with NCLB and Common Core. A child might find circumferences of items for fun at age eight, but because they cannot do base-ten subtraction with blocks, they "fail". They internalize their failure, and might end up finding no joy in circumferences because it isn't valued by the school. They may learn to hate learning and feel they are stupid. Is this what we want for our children?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

system reboot, taking back my own


I naively walked towards the abyss with the greatest of intentions, and as my feet touch the edge and the earth crumbles beneath my feet, sand pouring into the pits of hell, I realize my grave mistake and slam down the reboot button. Please oh please oh please work, I cry in despair, cursing myself for my decisions. Shoulda' known better. But  I will stop blaming myself and simply hit REBOOT and take back my child from the abyss.

My dearest son has hearing loss from ear infections (not 'permanent" but he has never had full hearing) and thus a speech delay. I recognized it at almost age two and was the pro-active rockstar of a parent, getting him help right away, in his early most formative years.

It took a half a year navigating red tape to get any help, but now he has an early intervention teacher, an awesome lady who I have nothing but kind words for, who shows up 2 - 3 times a month at our home to do developmental activities with my son. I can't say it is or isn't helping but he enjoys doing puzzles her so I am happy.

Until now.

I have to tell her soon, "it's not you, it's me and we're over" and I mean every word.

My son is lined up for an IEP through the county and school district and can attend pre-school (at age 3!) every day, half day, for FREE. How awesome is that?  But I have put thought and research into it and I am becoming "that parent", that does NOT get their child special ed services. After all my efforts and good intentions and desire to help my son, I am taking back my child before it is too late.

If he goes on an IEP and thus into that pre-school, I must fill out district enrollment forms and connect that data, and his IEP, with his health records. With P - 20 and the 400 data points of Common Core and a human capital management big Brother world occupying that abyss, which is reality, I am saying f$#^ no and removing my child.

There is no way in hell I am having his work place or college know and discriminate against him or give preferential treatment because he had an IEP. He will not be pigeon holed and sent on a specific, less-than academic pathway via social efficiency because of an IEP. Sure, you might say, you are a wacko and this could never happen. But I have done my fair share of research and all the data will exist so that all there is left to do is a click of one button and bam! Discrimination for life. I have worked with school data systems extensively, so when I say I know, I know.

I am taking back my child and will give him the special services he may need at home, away from prying eyes.

I thought at first, sure, I will just decline most info/data gathered and let my son attend pre-school. I wll demand upon entrance to kindergarten that his IEP NOT follow him. Problem solved right? wrong.

Did you know the districts have their cumulative record, the paper one (now often digitalized) and ANOTHER SECRET FILE?!?!?!?!  The speech therapist said sure, I can demand his IEP not follow him in the cum' file but the district has "other files" that follow him. She did not know the specifics but assured me they exist for each child.

I am not even putting him in pre-school or on an IEP because of the P-20 SLDS tracking system. How my son acquired speech at age 3 is no one's flipping business but mine and his.

I hate myself for even putting him on an IFSP. Stupid stupid me, the IFSP was my ticket and paper trail into the abyss. I hope a full system reboot and removal from the system will erase my trail permanently but I know there will always be a trace, somewhere. I had the best of intentions and screwed up. But can you blame me? I merely wanted to help my son, my world.

disclaimer: I still support IEPs for many kids. Just not my own.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

pass the barf bag

External Locus of Control

I made myself sick today. I found out P - 20 isn't preschool-20 (college) as I thought. Oregon, Michigan, Kansas ( and likely every state) have websites about P - 20 which state it is prenatal - college. Yes, prenatal. To quote http://www.michiganschildren.org/Speaking-Up-For-Kids/what-is-p-20.html,
"p 20 is a cradle-to-career approach to education recognizing that education does not start and end at the classroom door". 

Yes....no sugarcoating here, they overtly mentioned a government sanctioning of cradle to grave control.
Here I thought all along, phew I have my kiddos until pre-school or kindergarten. I have them for their most influential formative years, go me! Take that, government! My dreams were shattered today. No longer are my children my own, but part of the state, parens patriae, the idea of the state as parent, since, apparently, these elitist experts know best. No more mommy knows best...this world is too "complicated" for us simple folks, an idea dating back to the Utopian goals of the Progressive Era and the notion of social efficiency.

Let me provide a disclaimer and interjection. I do not inherently see a problem with prenatal care and early childhood education. Our infant mortality rate and pregnancy complication rates are quite dismal for a first-world country. As a mother of two, I am all for prenatal care. As a teacher, I am all for early childhood education. During my first year of teaching, I found out that many kindergartners in my poverty stricken school neighborhood came to school utterly unprepared. Many had never used crayons or held a pencil. They had never even heard the ABCs and did not know their own name (often called mijo/a, baby, etc at home). I kid you not. These children are the most in need of intervention and the most targeted for such things. Therefore I wish to reiterate that I advocate prenatal care and early learning.

The Factory Model

But if history means a darned thing, this scares me... targeting the most at risk populations can mean they receive a stellar education that teaches them to think, ask questions, create, innovate, argue. Or it can teach them job skills like how to ring up a burger and fries and how to operate a vacuum, you know, skills that CC offers through the 70% weight of informative text in Language Arts courses.

The idea of scientifically managing the population to control them, as part of a Utopia, is hardly new. It originated in Prussia (see http://3rseduc.blogspot.com/search?q=prussia for background info on Prussia's influence on our education system) as noted at http://www.lewrockwell.com/2010/09/john-taylor-gatto/the-prussian-connection/ A concept called

"psychological parenthood" began to take shape, a radical notion without legal precedent that would be used down the road to support drastic forcible intervention into family life. It became one of the basic justifications offered during the period of mass immigration for a compulsion law intended to put children under the thrall of so-called scientific parenting in schools"

This idea that the families of the nation were ill-equipped to raise children; that scientific management thereof could save us, is prominent in the past and perhaps today.

in "Education for social efficiency: a study in the social relations of education" By Irving King (1915),

"It was devised as a means of insuring that the child should learn certain things which he would not be able to learn satisfactorily if he were left to pick up things for himself by imitation and simple contact with the life that was going on daily about him. As culture increased in complexity, more and more of the burden of education had to be shifted to formal agencies, specifically to the school"

From the same document,

"And this education must be largely wrought out through the school. The ideal of a social life adequate to modern conditions of living must take its place as an object of explicit and conscious training, just because it is too complex and difficult to attain in any other way"

For a nice outline of the Progressive Era and the influence on society and education, visit http://people.uncw.edu/ricej/education/The%20Progressive%20Era%202%20Social%20Efficiency.htm

As the Progressive Era rolled in, social efficiency reared its ugly head. I don't like using wikipedia as a reliable source, but instead of quoting ten separate sources to validate wiki, I will give you the wiki definition of social efficiency- I could not have said it better.






Social efficiency educators" such as theorists Ross, Bobbitt, Gilbreth, Taylor, and Thorndike were aiming to design a curriculum that would optimize the “social utility” of each individual in a society. By using education as an efficiency tool, these theorists believed that society could be controlled. Students would be scientifically evaluated (such as IQ tests), and educated towards their predicted role in society. This involved the introduction of vocational and junior high schools to address the curriculum designed around specific life activities that correlate with each student’s societal future. The socially efficient curriculum would consist of minute parts or tasks that together formed a bigger concept. This educational view was somewhat derived with the efficiency of factories which could simultaneously produce able factory workers. Critics believe this model has too much emphasis on testing and separating students based on the results of that testing.
Social efficiency keeps at it; A.H. Lauchner, a principal in 1951, said,


 "not every child has to read, figure, write and spell...that many of them cannot or will not master these chores." 

Meaning, why teach true academic curriculum to certain children to whom it would be a waste?

Okay so my point here is this, social efficiency used the "science" of test scores to drive curriculum to scientifically manage the populace, to determine which students were to be doctors and which were to be laborers. With the p-20 data tracking system, a student with behavioral issues, an IEP, low math test scores may be pigeonholed- on purpose- into becoming a manual laborer, even if their dreams and skills are in interpreting law or motivating students or what have you.

Sire, you say, this cannot happen. Or perhaps it is an old fuddy duddy idea that never came to fruition and never will. To re-quote one of my posts from this year,

From http://www.wiche.edu/info/publications/FrameworkForAMultistateHumanCapitalDevelopmentDataSystem.pdf
"The workforce sector wants information about prior training in
high school and postsecondary institutions as a foundation for
working with both education sectors to address identified skill gaps
in the workforce, as well as to identify equity gaps with respect
to demographic representativeness by job category. Knowing the
education sectors’ capacity to respond (i.e., by increasing the flow
of graduates with particular skill sets) will also help the state decide
whether to invest in education to address skill gaps or establish
incentives to induce more workers with needed skills to move
into the state. Moreover, linking with the education sectors would
provide labor market analysts with a wealth of data that would be
useful for examining equity in employment."

This document is a modern document, written sometime between 2009-2013, and it states that schools can increase the flow of graduates with certain skills. How might they do this? If society needs more engineers, or fast food workers, how will it "increase the flow" without either data manipulation (suddenly Johnny's test scores plummet and his education is individualized to send him into fast food) or using tracking to label students (everyone who struggled in science gets to work in fast f

Your Secret is Safe With me

Everyone keepos saying the data collected will remain anonymous, and will solely be used to improve prenatal care, career readiness programs, etc, But of course the data will be shared with any government organization or third party vendor or person in education (textbook companies, educational consultants) which will remain anonymous once out of the school level. Students will be numbered, data will be meta data, and it will be secure. (Just like our IRS records, social security info, etc which surely has never been compromised...ha ha).

"Anonymous" meta data is extrapolated from identifiable data, those "80% have graduated on time" had names and identities attached to them.  Collect some meta data such as addresses, parent's names, etc and enough datamanipulating can lead back to the student. Or, if anyone decides to be evil, a school official could leak identifiable student data, or how to access it (ie that student #642t50 is Jane Plain). But don't worry,,,your data is "safe".

Which leads back to social efficiency... whitehouse.gov had said,

Pearson will share data into the Learning Registry about many of their existing teaching resources including those that support CCSS so that they can be used n each students' personal learning path

Yep, right back to pigeonholing students in a certain direction as part of social efficiency, or as we call it now, human capital.  From http://www.csctulsa.org/content.php?p=195 we bring you,

The P-20 concept is a way of thinking and acting that promotes systematic aligning of multiple education, health, and social support resources to best advance human capital development from prenatal through postsecondary and employment, and on to sustained lifelong well-being...

See, my long-winded post does all come together right there. And it scares me. It is wrapped up in a pretty package- who doesn't want "sustained lifelong well-being"? But the question is, who decides what well-being means? Perception is everything and one man's well being could be another man's hell. Is the government's idea of my well being what I desire? Likely not, since obviously life- and my own well being- are "human capital" and must be micromanaged and decided for me.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

think inside the box

LAUSD recently spent $1 billion -yes, billion- on technology for Common Core, mainly in the form of iPads. Let's ignore the money spent that we don't have/could be better spent. Let's ignore Common Core and the snafu that is, for now.

After wasting/spending a billion, LA took back the iPads, sorry kids. Why?

the kids "hacked" the tablets to enable music streaming and social media, o.m.g. folks, how awful of them. The head IT dude (or dudette, gotta be p.c.) just changed the settings to block social media and music so all the "hackers" did (hardly hackers, a grandma or kindergartner is I guess a hacker) was change the settings in the control panel.

My first point here is, these same "evil hackers" are hiding their cell phones in their pocket, their textbook, under their desk and texting, twittering, facebooking discretely. Each child in a hoodie, or with head leaning into their arms, or hair brushed by an ear, is rocking out to their iPod. It is how this generation does things. Secondly, they are accessing these things because
a) they can multitask....remember back in our day, taking lecture notes while writing a note to your best friend and doodling on the margins?
b) your common core, scripted lesson sucks an they have lost all interest
c) you could do the work for them and they are so apathetic, they wouldn't turn it in...they will never do their work. Live with it.

So I say, let them "hack". It makes no difference.

Another point is thus....technology is so "21st century" but schools seem stuck in the 20th century and heck even 19th, 18th..... while I love "real" books, pen and paper, technology is, as we know it, the "future". So let's embrace it. But technology and "21st century skills" are NOT virtual textbooks and tests. Sorry. You could accomplish the same damned thing with pen, paper,"real" books. Schools refuse to embrace real cutting edge technology because the first mention of cell phones, social media, live streaming music or media and they shut down. Kids cannot do those things, it is against learning,they say.it isn't "right". So they continue using technology as if it were what we have already had,,,open your e-books to page 35 and take the multiple choice test at the end. Yet we spend a billion dollars to do what we already have in place.

How about we embrace all these banned things? You can save paper by having students instagram a pic of a worksheet to share with their workgroup via text messaging. You can use the virtual blackboard to host discussions. Skype experts. Network with up and coming poets, watch video clips. Store and access data on the cloud. Follow a politician's twitter account and blog about it. Skype the leading expert in physics for a q&a session. Really use technology for what it is, a newly fangled device to bring the world to your fingertips.

And please do not punish the "hackers" as they are the last bastions of free thought and innovation we have in a lock step one size fits all automaton education system. It is the rebels that make a difference and make history.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Answer my Friends

I often get told something like, "stop telling us what is wrong with education, tell us how to fix it!" I wish I had an answer for how to fix education.

This blog exists as an open dialogue and informational source as to what is wrong with education- uncovering the ills of education that hide in plain sight; we are educated to not seek the answers, find out the "why", whereto look, or how to decipher something written cleverly to disguise the truth. I'd love to have a blog with the almighty answers of "how" and "what" in regards to "fixing" education.

So why don't I propose a solution? Well, it is a complex answer...

One, whenever I seem to encounter some new innovation, school of thought, curriculum, etc that seems to fit my dreams for education, it turns out "evil" and used for control, dumbing down, fitting some agenda that seems against freedom, enlightenment, betterment, intellectualism.

Two, I still struggle with what education should be, as in the whole picture, the mission statement. If it is to foster intellect and curiosity, can it also prepare people for jobs without pigeonholing people into certain careers, controlling their destiny? If I use data and best practices for improvement, can it be just that without labeling and marginalizing students? Really, all I can conclude for my aims of education is to educate. To give children a thirst for knowledge, skills to think and question on their own, and innovation, curiosity, creativity. But the "how" is the mystery.

Perhaps, when I crticize education and complain it is too prescriptive, focusing on quantitative over qualitative, one size fits all... I could use the same parameters to criticize the solution, whatever it is. I don't think there is one exact solution. More a variety of solutions, individualized, on a spectrum of sorts.

Or...is there really no answer? Meaning, does every answer have an ":evil" side? Is there no way to educate without thought control, human capital management, eugenics, and the sort? Really, what if there is no "right" way to educate?

I keep hoping somehow there is an answer, a pure, just, good, liberty-minded answer (or answers) out there; I just do not know how to find it. I hope by exposing that which is "evil" in education, I can uncover what is good.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Who Needs to Know? part II

A continnum of my post http://3rseduc.blogspot.com/2013/06/who-needs-to-know.html............

There is rumor of"opt-out" to CCSS and the LDS data collection, and I have heard many anecdotes of parents whose information is collected without permission. A well known example would be the iris scanning incident (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2336020/Parents-angered-schools-conduct-Minority-Report-like-iris-scans-students-young-asking-permission.html). However, supposedly law is in place to prevent such things,

"The Fair Information 
Practice of Transparency calls for “providing 
notice to the individual regarding the collection, 
use, dissemination, and maintenance of personally 
identifiable information” (NIST 2010 Special 
Publication 800-122, p. D-2, 3)."

This links to FERPA which was changed in 2011 (after publication of this document) which is referenced here http://dianeravitch.net/2013/04/08/why-is-the-us-department-of-education-weakening-ferpa/ and http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/sealea_overview.pdf to cite a few sources.

But don't fear, folks....

"A school or district is also required to provide an 
annual Directory notice, if directory information 
is disclosed without consent. The school or district 
may choose to combine their annual FERPA 
notification with their annual Directory notice. 
Directory information includes information 
contained in a student’s education record that 
would not generally be considered harmful or an 
invasion of privacy if disclosed. The Directory 
notice must describe the specific types of 
information the school or district has designated 
as directory information, and the parent’s right to 
opt out of disclosure of directory information. In 
the case of postsecondary institutions, these rights 
accrue to the student."

Of course, I have worked in schools and perhaps I'm out of the loop and was out of the loop as data and assessment coordinator but I've never seen this directory or heard mention of it. I hope exists but my guess is it is published in the district office and sits in a binder; no one is ever notified of it, the fact that it is law is apparently enough notification.

Collecting data is, again, supposedly a very public motion with an opt-out program but it isn't quite that cut and dry. All the info you submit when enrolling a child (ie a photo id of parents, utility bills, birth certificate) are all "mandatory" for enrollment and often end up in the data systems. I mean, I guess that is common sense but parents often do not think of it as such, and they are not alerted to the collection and use of the data past enrollment purposes.

"The Pupil Protection Rights Act requires parental 
notification if a study to be conducted in a school 
includes any information or questions about the 
student or the student’s family related to the eight 
identified sensitive topics: political affiliations or 
beliefs; religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs; 
mental and psychological problems; sex behavior 
or attitudes; illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating If the study is funded by the U.S. Department of 
Education, schools and contractors must obtain 
written parental consent before minor students 
can be required to participate in the study. If the 
school received funds from the U.S. Department of 
Education, school districts are required to provide 
an annual schedule of the specific or approximate 
dates of all other surveys with a notification of 
the parents’ right to request and review a copy of 
the survey before it is administered and to decide 
that their child will not participate, reagrdless 
of the survey’s source of funding. Under this 
Act, parents must also be notified each year of 
their right to decide whether or not their child 
will participate in activities that make student’s 
personal information available for marketing or 
other profit-making activities."

Again, I have yet to see these "notifications" and keep hearing from parents of breech of this law/procedure.

Things often get lost in "legalese" and below you can see that permission to use a student's data is permissible   without notification when sharing with school officials and other designated entities with legitimate educational interests. What might that mean? I have yet to get an answer and suspect it could mean volunteers, government organizations (i.e. dept of health), testing companies, think tanks, researchers, textbook companies, and corporations.

"The annual FERPA notice provides information 
about permissible uses of PII in education records. 
That is, FERPA allows educational agencies 
and institutions to non-consensually release 
education records to school officials and other 
designated entities with legitimate educational 
interests 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b(1)(A)"

To confirm or ease my fears, here is some more "legalese",

"a 
third-party contractor, consultant, 
volunteer, or other party to whom an 
agency or institution has outsourced 
institutional services for which the 
agency or institution would otherwise 
use employees—as long as that third 
party’s use and maintenance of education 
records is under the direct control of the 
agency or institution and is subject to 
the regulation requirements governing 
the use and redisclosure of PII from 
education records......
.....The disclosure is to organizations conducting 
studies for, or on behalf of, educational 
agencies or institutions for specified 
purposes related to predictive tests, student 
aid programs, or the improvement of 
instruction......
.............The disclosure is in connection with a health 

or safety emergency .............."

So yes corporations, government officials, volunteers etc can see the data. And what defines a health or safety emergency? A natural disaster, yes....but could there be a "psychological risk screening", "immunization study" or other "emergency" where data is collected? Again, the answer is unclear.

Can you view your child's records to ensure compliance?t  Yes....kind of. You probably will not know who else views their data but you can know what they view.... kind of. I have heard fro parents that is isn't just a walk in and see them scenario, that schools stall and send you from one person to another; some schools reportedly have even tried to charge a fee for the records. Regardless, here is the law.

"FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g (a) and the related 
regulations (34 CFR § 99) establish the right of 
a parent to inspect and review his or her child’s 
(or in the case of an eligible student his or her 
own) education record for accuracy."


I hope these two posts, links, excerpts, and commentary have helped parents and educators at least know what is happening with data (even if some of this information is three years old, thus outdated).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who Needs to Know?

As one may surmise, one of my biggest apprehensions regarding CCSS (Common Core Standards) is the LDS (Longitudinal Data Sysyem) collections proposed.

I found a document http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011602.pdf that had some interesting information that I will copy and paste here. Enjoy!

The Fair Information Practice of Data 
Minimization and Retention calls for “only 
collecting personally identifiable information that 
is directly relevant and necessary to accomplish 
the specified purpose(s). [And for] only retaining 
personally identifiable information for as long as 
is necessary to fulfill the specified purpose(s).”

This sounds innocent but who decides what is relevant and necessary, and for how long? With P-20 in position, the information could be viable and important for more than 20 years of a person's life. The types of data could include psychological profiles, behavioral records, health records and religious affiliation, to name a few. http://truthinamericaneducation.com/privacy-issues-state-longitudinal-data-systems/privacy-invasiondata-mining/what-400-data-points/ links to https://ceds.ed.gov/elements.aspx?v=3&ex= and http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary  which outline these proposed records to be collected on students. Each to their own, but who wants this information collected on their children, especially when the length of time and who views the data remains vague?

Perhaps I am paranoid but thus next excerpt shows my worst fears;

"Linkage with information from an external 
source could occur as a result of a direct linkage 
by someone with access to two confidential 
data systems who is able to directly link the two 
databases (e.g., the student record linked to local 
public health records on sexually transmitted 
diseases or local crime records) or as a result of a 
less direct linkage of information from a student’s 
education record with information available in 
public records (e.g., the education record for a 
15-year-old Asian female includes participation 
in services for unmarried pregnant students, and 
public birth records could be used to identify 
the father of the student’s child. Alternatively, an 
education record might show that a 13-year-old 
female student was the victim of a violent assault 
during the school day on a specific date (without 
the specifics of the assault). Meanwhile, a report 
in a local newspaper, while protecting the direct 
identifiers of the victim, reveals some of the details 
of an assault on a female student in that school on 
the same date)."

The collection of data has purpose which to me seems to conflict, Case in point;

"INSTRUCTION—Teacher and counselors 
need information about an individual 
student’s previous educational experiences 
and any special needs the student might have 
to deliver appropriate instruction and services 
and to plan educational programs; parent 
contact information is needed to keep parents 
informed of student progress. 
» OPERATIONS—Schools and districts need 
data for individual students to ensure the 
efficiency of day-to-day functions such as 
attendance records, meeting individual 
students’ special needs, handling individual 
students’ health problems, and operating food 
service and transportation programs.
» MANAGEMENT—Schools, districts, and 
state education agencies use data about 
students for planning and scheduling 
educational programs and for the distribution 
of resources. ACCOUNTABILITY—Schools, districts, 
and state education agencies use data 
about students and about individual 
students’ progress to provide information 
about students’ accomplishments and 
the effectiveness of schools and specific 
educational programs. 
» RESEARCH AND EVALUATION—Schools, 
local, state, and federal education agencies 
use data about students and about individual 
students’ progress to conduct analysis 
of program effectiveness, the success 
of student subgroups, and changes in 
achievement over time to identify effective 
instructional strategies and to promote school 
improvement. "

I understand the purposes outlined here and agree with them, having had managed two schools' data a few years ago. But what does the information about an assault on campus that was reported in the news?  How would maternal last name, religious affiliation, and website URL be used in the classroom, or at the state and federal level to improve instruction?

 Again, I remind you of P20, that these records will follow you through life:

"To facilitate the 
usefulness of this information, the legislation 
also calls for an alignment between P–12 and 
postsecondary data systems, which requires 
linkages between student and teacher records, 
between preschool and elementary education, and 
between secondary and postsecondary education 
and the workforce."

It seems who will access student information remains unspecified, and the most private data such as biometrics and social security numbers are of course of highest concern. This document states that such records wqill only be accessed by and for a need to know basis but there lacks a definition of "need to know".

"After the risk level is established, consideration 
should be given to providing more protection 
and more restrictions on access for the data 
elements that are identified as highly sensitive. 
For example, these data elements might be stored 
apart from the rest of the student record in a 
more secure electronic environment, with access 
limited to “need to know” circumstances for only 
a subset of those with access to the system."

One possible relief is the proposal to give students unique identifier numbers (California already has such a thing) separate from their Social Security number; the article adds a second layer of security that at least did not exist in California during the 2010-2011 school year; a unique linking code to access social security numbers which few have access to, so that Social Security numbers will be more secure.

Who might be managing your child's data or accessing the linking codes? Well,

"PII carries a potential for misuse. As a result, it is
advisable to require security screenings for staff
members whose job responsibilities require them
to have access to PII in student education records.
The screening might include a background
investigation using written, electronic, telephone,
or personal contact to determine the suitability,
eligibility, and qualifications of a staff member for
employment."

This sounds great, yet humans are, well, human. Every year across the nation, teachers with supposed clean records and qualifications attend yearly training of confidentiality and test procedures, signing legally binding affidavits and yet every year there are teachers and administrators across the nation breaching confidentiality of these tests. Therefore, how can a similar procedure protect your child's data with 100% assuredness?

Stay tuned for part II of my analysis of this document.




Thursday, June 6, 2013

The gray area

A quick little rant...

It seems that those I align myself with politically and educationally tend to go one way and those opposite, well, opposite. Of course I'm generalizing here, never a good tactic for debate or even backing up a claim but I digress....

What I'm trying to say is, it seems each "side" argues (yep here comes the generalizations) for one very polarized opinion.

Side A says: Eek education is all about indoctrination into social justice and communism (or socialism), environmentalism, removal of patriotism or anything to do with the constitution or Founding Fathers, replacing it with a one world order, pro-UN global society that hates Christianity.

Or something like that.

Side B says everything opposite (no need to list it, you are a smart reader and can figure it out)

And then there is little old me, usually siding with A and ranting about the wrongs of side B, but yet I say

Wait! There is a gray area!

America is a great nation, one many people only dream of, but yes we as a nation are not perfect. No one person or place is. We have faults. But we have things worthy of praise. Our values, our founding documents, our collective individualism and desire to help others and better ourselves and nation is something extraordinary. Few realize this, but talk to anyone from say, Cuba, Romania, Cambodia who came to our shores for what we offer and you will hear some great stories. So we can't just side with A and say we are the best most perfectly,  awesome country,  America f*** yeah, but we also can't say America is all that is evil and wrong with the world.

We cannot decimate the planet from an environmental perspective, but we should really bring in logic to the equation. No matter how many reusable bags I use, China will still be responsible for 30% of the smog in my  skies. Worshipping sustainability in the sense we become a third world stone age world is not the answer, but why not try and clean up the littered highways?

We are a predominately Christian nation, but there are other religions out there and we are not a Christian nation per se. Christians should pray for God to guide and protect our nation, but if a Muslim girl wants to wear a hijab or a school wants to teach that Hinduism is a religion of India and looks to books such as the Bhagavad Gita for guidance, so be it. We as Americans are not all one kind of people and that makes us great.

Face it. We are a global society. While we should have patriotism and love of our nation, we need to realize there is a world out there that interacts with us daily. We should be familiar with other cultures, religions, customs, languages. Chances are, you will have a neighbor from Italy and another from South Africa, a co-worker from Singapore, a boss from Brazil... you get the idea. We can love our country and know about other peoples.

We need to recongize these gray areas and focus in on them instead of polarizing everything. Only then can we get somewhere.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

P20, LDS, CCSS Data WILL control your child's future

P20 will mold your child into a specific career, not of your child's choosing but of the State's, Government's, or workforce/corporation's desire and need. With the collection of over 400 data points with LDS (Longitudinal Data Systems) being developed under CCSS, comes the sharing of that data with governmental agencies, colleges, and workplaces.

So what, you might say. Well thorough the scientific management of people, known as "human capital", little Billy and Susie will no longer be Billy or Susie but numbers in a system, funneled into specific tasks in society based on assessment results, behavioral data, or merely just a need for more widget makers. Just like in the social efficiency movement, our children are seen as future workers, machines of labor, no longer unique individuals with dreams and desires but robots called human capital, scientifically designed to serve the corporate machine.

From http://www.wiche.edu/info/publications/FrameworkForAMultistateHumanCapitalDevelopmentDataSystem.pdf , a well renowned document full of information worth reading, comes this:

"The workforce sector wants information about prior training in 
high school and postsecondary institutions as a foundation for 
working with both education sectors to address identified skill gaps 
in the workforce, as well as to identify equity gaps with respect 
to demographic representativeness by job category. Knowing the 
education sectors’ capacity to respond (i.e., by increasing the flow 
of graduates with particular skill sets) will also help the state decide 
whether to invest in education to address skill gaps or establish 
incentives to induce more workers with needed skills to move 
into the state. Moreover, linking with the education sectors would 
provide labor market analysts with a wealth of data that would be 
useful for examining equity in employment."

Did you read that? By increasing the flow of graduates with a particular skill set? Think....how can they do this? Let's scale this idea down quite a lot, to ten students, numbered 1-10.
1-3 want to be doctors,
4, a firefighter,
5-7, teachers,
8-10 truck drivers.
However, the workforce sector has an overabundance of teachers and truck drivers but needs more soldiers and HR managers. So, by collecting data and seeing which child might possess a personality for the military, or by, God forbid, changing a child's educartional path completely, suddenly you have...
1-2 doctors.
3 became a soldier
4, firefighter
5, teacher
6 became an HR manager
7, solider
8, truck driver
9, solider
10, HR manager

Suddenly, business, through data has manipulated the future, manipulated our children through education to shape a desired future, by increasing the flow of graduates with a specific set of skills.


Is this what we want for our children?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Common Core Deja Vu


The Common Core Standards  (CCSS) movement, which prepares students to be work or college ready, is a facet of the P20 pipeline- the process of managing education and outcomes of children from preschool through college, the workforce, and perhaps beyond. This idea, however, is hardly new. Just think of it as Human Capital Management 2.0. Yep. Human capital is a buzzword of the CCSS and especially P20 pipeline, and it is synonymous with social efficiency. Now, in the 21st century, we have metadata to track, plot, assess, and manage every person’s every action if we wish…something we lacked with the Human Capital Management 1.0 version, but have now with longitudinal data systems in place.

 

I want to give a brief overview of Human Capital Management 1.0 , aka Social Efficiency, an essential tenet of the Progressive Era, circa approximately 1890-1930. You can read up on Social Efficiency here http://3rseduc.blogspot.com/search?q=social+efficiency but basically it is the scientific management of society to make a more efficient, almost utopian society with everyone in their place, everything running like a well-oiled machine.  Author Joel Spring said it well;  social efficiency educators was made up of an acceptance of a collective society and a belief that an individual should be devoted to a specialized task in society. An educational pioneer, Elwood Cubberley, stated in his 1905 disseration, “schools were to be factories] "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products... manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry” This meant, for education, the advent of IQ testing, SATs, and the backdrop for the standardized testing movement. Add in a splash of eugenics, and the dream was to assess students, track them, and find their perfect role in society. This often meant, at the time, that the more inferior peoples such as blacks or women, were pigeonholed into an education that denied them of classical education; no more algebra, philosophy, Latin, Greek mythology….and instead an education to train them for the workforce such as manual labor or homemaking.  An educational pioneer, Elwood Cubberley, stated in his 1905 dissertation, “schools were to be factories] "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products... manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry”  Does this sound a little familiar, or at least echo our fears of CCSS? It should.

I could go on and on about this but will instead just leave you with a few websites and quotes to engage your mind; you can connect the dots if you will.

“The standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning that will prepare America’s children for success in college and work”  and  "With common standards and assessments, students, parents, and teachers will have a clear, consistent understanding of the skills necessary for students to succeed after high school and compete with peers across the state line and across the ocean." http://www.corestandards.org/articles/8-national-governors-association-and-state-education-chiefs-launch-common-state-academic-standards

 

“P-20 initiatives connect educational systems for increased student performance, greater efficiency, improved outcomes, and smoother pathways throughout a student's career. These factors are of critical importance in a competitive global economy.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) is working on several fronts to help ensure that connections between early childhood, elementary and secondary education, and higher education can create a more seamless pipeline for Missouri students. “….and….”MDHE is committed to improving linkages between K-12 and higher education data systems to facilitate data-driven decision-making. As the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is transitioning to their unique-identifier, unit-record student and teacher data system (MOSIS), both departments are working to insure that MDHE's EMSAS data and DESE's MOSIS data will facilitate appropriate and meaningful longitudinal data analysis on student performance and teacher excellence.” …and….” MDHE's commitment to streamlining educational systems across the P-20 spectrum extends to the formative education and critical transitions in early childhood education.   http://www.dhe.mo.gov/p20/  (each state reflects a similar mission)

 

“The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of 22 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.” http://www.parcconline.org/about-parcc

 

“Online Assessment Roadmap 2014 to learn how using more innovative question types, online delivery, automated and artificial-intelligence powered scoring engines, and immediate web-based reporting of results can transform learning. This concrete planning and implementation resource will help states and districts navigate and mitigate the challenges of transitioning to online assessments.http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS11Uz and, “Evidence-based standard setting resources to understand and plan for how to shift use of cut scores to track progress toward college and career readiness.”  (Which links to a fascinating article full of “gold” via the pearson ed site )http://www.pearsonassessments.com/hai/images/tmrs/Bulletin21_Evidence_Based_Standard_Setting.pdf

“This project, “Ho‘okele,” will develop a P20 statewide longitudinal data system (P20 LDS) to track

individuals’ participation, progress and performance from early childhood education to the workforce.1

The project will enable use of the longitudinal, inter-agency data to improve educational and workforce

development outcomes, achieving Hawai‘i’s goal for human capital development”  and…”The P20 LDS application proposes six major outcomes representing a range of investments—human

capital, financial, technological, and institutional—to develop a robust P20 LDS that supports improved

student outcomes and educational attainment. The outcomes include a multi-state data exchange among

western states encompassing K-12, postsecondary and workforce longitudinal data from Hawai‘i, Idaho and Oregon; the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) will coordinate the “Multi-State  Human Capital Development Data System.”” http://archive.jan2013.hawaii.gov/labor/wdc/P20LDS_HIApp_1209_execsum.pdf

 

I strongly encourage you to visit each referenced site and explore all that is there; the drive for change and control of our children is very overt and evident if you just do a little digging.

 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why Education Standards Suck

I was trying to think, why am I so against NCLB and CCSS (Common Core Standards)? Okay, sure, we all know I loathe the testing and data tracking and who doesn't? But I mean...we need standards. We don't want a high school senior who was never taught how to multiply, and shouldn't every child know about the Founding Fathers and Constitution?

 I agree with these thoughts, but when everyone gets their hands into "a child should know...." we either get 10,000 standards a year- breadth not depth and learning suffers, or someone wins the "should know" battle, whoever has the biggest mouth and most money, and again, the children lose.

So I don't quite have the answer except that yeah, I don't like standards. Besides, who says a 5th grader must know A,B, and C? I even encounter this with my toddler son who was recently assessed for a speech delay. He could stack blocks 12 high, something I'd never taught, but couldn't categorize by color so suddenly his cognitive score dropped. Even though certain things he can do are at a 3-4 year level, since they weren't assessed....  you get the point.

Also, any good teacher- public, private, home school, has some idea of what to teach because we were all schooled  at one point, and we have a passion for education or else we wouldn't be teaching. Besides, even with all these "should knows", we graduate students who can't divide or find the USA on a map.

When I look at education today, I am appaled. I look at my previous classrooms with scripted curriculum, or my current class with "paragraph frames" and "step up to writing" and an all over lack of novels to be read and I think...whoa. In high school, I was so bored and done with the system I nearly dropped out, and if I were in school today...I don't even want to imagine. I'd be educationally suicidal.

I don't remember the dull textbook stories or comprehension questions, the dry whitewashed "social studies" passages or timed math tests. I forget my standardized tests. What do I remember? Non-standardized education.

I remember in first grade, since I was years ahead of my peers and GATE (gifted ed) didn't exist for first grade, I kind of got my own mini-Montessori. When possible, my teacher gave me third grade math packets and let me go to the grades 3-6 library and read and write to my hearts content while the rest of the class learned their ABCs.

My third grade teacher taught us "nature study", surely a "liberal environmental" idea, but I loved nature and fondly remember our weekly nature hikes and how we adopted a tree. I remember drawing the intricate knots on my little oak tree and watching her leaves turn golden brown in fall.

I remember 4th grade when I was home schooled, and read the entire Audobon Encyclopedia FOR FUN, and made my own edible plants books.

I recall in 6th grade we did a unit on ancient civilizations. I'm sure we read some droll passage in the textbook about Mesopotamia or something...I dunno...but we spent an entire MONTH creating our own civilization. WE made clay rolling things with symbols carved in, to make stamped images mimicking the rosetta stone. We created the government, language, foods, art, maps of an imaginary civilization. We then made a few artifacts and then smashed and buried them, and went to excavate another student's cultural ruins.

I recall we were to read a 200 page novel of our choice and I chose  Clan of the Cave Bear. This was my first introduction to the restrictive education system and mold, as I had to get board approval (after much persuading by my mom, a teacher in their district) to read a book on my own that mentioned s-e-x. No commandment for reading the entire zillion-paged series of adult level reading books.

In 8th grade we had a feast in class of colonial foods, and even got to dress up. We were reading some novel (gasp we read novels!) of colonial times where a boy's fingers were melded together in a blacksmith accident, so we got to try buttoning shirts and eating food with our fingers taped together. We then read some other novel and had a choice of end projects; one was to create and cook an entire southern meal. I did such, and typed up a menu and donned a faux twangy accent and served my parents a 5 course meal.

I recall hating high school as I'd said, but art and drama saved me. I could forge my own path and do as I pleased, as art lacks much structure. I sometimes even ditched class to go to art or drama, and spent many lunches and after school hours in the theater or art class. The smell of paint or the flash of theater lights still feels like home to me.

I look at curriculum, standards, the way education is going, and I die inside. I really do. Children will no longer bury their own civilizations or read hundreds-of-pages novels, because this kind of self-centered, innovative curiosity is being extinguished for good.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Students and the Govt:: Security, Safety, Privacy

Students were discussing the Boston Marathon bombing in Social Studies/US History today, so to do some cross-curricular learning, I had their daily journal prompt relate.

My prompt was;

Recently in Boston. homes were
searched for terror suspects. Some
say this is necessary protection.
Others say it violates freedom and privacy.
What are your thoughts?

And here is a sampling of results. I am not going to politicize it or give commentary... take it as you like. I found the answers interesting.

Spelling etc is not taken into account for this activity.

Also I apologize for the sideways images, they are the correct orientation on my laptop, camera, and Microsoft paint. I provide captions for readability.

Lastly, I did not impose my own beliefs...merely gave the prompt, collected work, and said there would be follow up activities in Social Studies. So their answers were not fed to them.

I think it was a good idea. It could help prevent
any other dangerous situations. At the time it was
also an invasion of privacy because they barged in the
without a search warrant

My thoughts are that they
should secure Boston
because people there are
making threats and bombs yes
its okay for police to search
your house for bombs ore
any type of weapons
 


I wouldn't mind getting my
house searched because of
the situation\ that happen. A
lot of things have been
happening so I feel that it
will be necessary to search
other peoples homes


(prompt written) I think it was a violation
of privacy.  They invaded the personal
apace of many many people. Violated
their houses and privacy.
 


my thoughts are that was good idea. Some should be the need to feel protection in Boston. You never know what one of those terrorists was in their home.
people wouldn't be safe in their own environment. They would
be really scared.
(prompt) My thoughts on the
subject is that since people
were seriously injured and
even killed they need to figure out
who did this. Searching
peoples homes is totally
necessary. Just to be safe.


I feel that what happened in boston
was necessary to do. I feel that
 they were taking every precaution
needed to keep the community safe.
My thoughts feel like they aren't
invading privacy they are just
doing their job to protect everyone.

I think it does violate privacy and freedom but do to
the bombing its for the best. Therefore,
I do believe its necessary.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teachers are Big Brother

Okay, many teachers are great teachers and not evil big brother. But so many of us went through "the system", trained to think nothing but (or nothing at all) that we become the system.

I'm doing all I can to fight the system...peacefully.

But some are so entrenched...well....just let my image below "speak a thousand words" to you. It is from the NEA magazine. My jaw went agape.

Countdown

Usually the end of the school year is full of mixed emotions, but mostly sadness. Sure, I can't wait for summer break, but I'm usually on a one-year contract or pink slipped due to LIFO, so I am full of sadness. The four walls, 30-some desks, bustle of children I will never see again fills me with sorrow. A part of my life, and my joy and passion, ended.

Not this year. Yeah, I will miss my students. I already miss teaching as education is dead.

I have five weeks left. Five. I can do it. I can do it. I can approach the days without anguish or depression, because, even if I'm ready to resign, even though I loathe my job, I'll be done soon. I best make the best of it because I truly love teaching. Granted it seems like I don't teach, enlighten, empower anymore but I think I will miss the smell of expo markers, the sounds of pencil on paper, the visual stimulus of paper airplanes, tattoos, ipods, textbooks and restless students.

But all I can do now is say, five more weeks. I can do this.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Student Data Tracking is Old News

"This will go down on your permanent record!"

Ever recall a teacher or administrator threatening you with this statement in school? And yet little to nothing happened... until now.

With CCSS (Common Core State Standards) as part of RTTT (Race To The Top) and, well, as part of a plethora of other acronyms for that matter, your child's "permanent record" will he basically just that. Anything can be inputted, even without parental consent as per the tweaking of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) passed on a December 2011 day- probably when lawmakers were already on holiday or who were more concerned with vacation than some FERPA change. So now schools can, without restrictions, work on collecting data about your children such as; dwelling ownership, hair color, health condition at birth, or religious affiliation, to name a few. This "data dream list" is legit and can be found in one of my past blog posts at http://3rseduc.blogspot.com/2011/10/big-bro-knows-everything-thank-you.html or the original source, http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=learner  I do not know the original date of the "dream list", but my original post was from October 2011. Therefore, the idea of changing FERPA and implementing a Big Brother data tracking system of children began in 2011 if not before.

Actually, it was in the works before 2011 in Florida. Data from as early as 1995. From http://edwapp.doe.state.fl.us/EDW_Facts.htm one can find;

"EDW Characteristics
  • K-20 public education data integration
  • Allows longitudinal analyses
  • Student centric
  • Historical (1995 forward, when available) and current data
  • Confidentiality ensured (personally identifiable information removed)
  • State-of-the-art analytical capabilities"
the readable version can be found at
http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org/pdfs/WPFPpolicybrief-fall09.pdf
 
 
Yes, data from as far back as 1995, although what type of data and how it was used is not specific. Note that the most current information states personally identifiable information shall be removed; however, it is only a matter of time before the information is no longer so discreet; as when it is entered by the public K-12 school, it is very personal. What if the information is hacked? 
 
To embellish on the graphics shown,  the EDW (Education Data Warehouse)  is, and I quote from http://edwapp.doe.state.fl.us/,
 
"The mission of the Florida K-20 Education Data Warehouse (EDW) is to provide stakeholders in public education-including, but not limited to, administrators, educators, parents, students, state leadership, and professional organizations-with the capability of receiving timely, efficient, consistent responses to inquiries into Florida's Kindergarten through University education"
 


The EDW blueprint at http://edwapp.doe.state.fl.us/edw.htm# is worth a gander; as you see; the P20 (tracking students from preschool through college/post college) is part of EDW; a current or former student's employment (for five years following the student's last enrollment) and military status is warehoused. This information is obtained from employers and the government and provided to the Florida EDW. So the notion of CCSS data following a student through life, their permanent record being provided to, say, an employer, is true as is the reverse situation. Employers now report back to the school on their former and current students' employment data.
 
To zoom in and focus on FETPIP, a larger graphic to refer to.
The FETPIP website (http://www.fldoe.org/fetpip/) states,
 
 
                          Florida has been ahead of the game.
comes an image regarding Florida's data tracking of students.
"The Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP) is a data collection and consumer reporting system established by Florida Statutes Section 1008.39 to provide follow-up data on former students and program participants who have graduated, exited or completed a public education or training program within the State of Florida. The statute requires all elements of Florida's workforce development system to use information provided through FETPIP, for any project they may conduct requiring automated matching of administrative records for follow-up purposes. "
 
When one unites Florida's data tracking via FETPIP and EDW with CCSS and the data "wish list", and adds in that FERPA has removed parental permission (and there is no "opt out" of CCSS data tracking thus far), it gets a little too real. That's because it is real, folks. And it is nothing new.
 



 


how to get away with anything in the classroom

Parents, teachers, shh...don't tell your kids what I am about to tell you.

In California, students can almost get away with murder. Thanks to California AB 2242 (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB2242) a child who normally might be suspended for things like defiance, drugs, and everything else under the sun....won't quite be suspended. Well, not instantly in most cases.

A school I know has a policy to abide to AB 2242. Let's say there is a child who curses you, the teacher, out. Let's call him Bad Billy or BB. Well, at the first offense you must write down in exact detail what BB said and your response and how you counseled BB, advised him, and redirected his behavior. No, "hey BB, school rule, no cursing, go see the principal" but something more like "why did you do that? What are the school expectations? How might you not do this next time? Why are you angry? How can I help?"

At this particular place of mention, you must do this at least three times before even sending them out of the classroom. Then you call parents. Then you let it happen again. Then you have a parent conference. Then you write a detention. Then a referral, logging all behavior modification steps you've taken, and hope administration approves of it. THEN, after ANOTHER offense, the student (i.e. BB) MIGHT be suspended. Might.

So today in my classroom the class, after break, reeked of marijuana. Not only is that illegal and something I don't want to smell, but adding pregnancy to the mix...nuh-uh.

So I was about to call security when they arrived (Another teacher nearby had smelled it. I was out of the classroom right before, to return state testing documents). Luckily they searched where I said it stank and released me of duty. Therefore I got a substitute to watch my class while I got to get fresh air for an hour for my safety and well-being.

At the end of the day, I asked who had been caught and they wouldn't tell me. Okay..... Then I saw security as I left campus and they said that two kids had been caught (there were students nearby so they couldn't release names) and one officer said that the student with possession of marijuana would be here tomorrow and the student who admitted he had "done it" would be suspended. To reiterate, the student with possession of narcotics- a "zxero tolerance" law under ed code, equaling suspension and suggestion of expulsion, was let go. This student had to be searched as he/she did not admit to anything. The child who admitted to smoking got suspended.

I do not know the details but given this new AB 2242 craziness, my guess is possession-kid had been a sweet angel or at least had only been in trouble, say, five times and the kid who admitted smoking had been in trouble, say, a dozen times so by this new law, enough intervention had been done and it was his time to be suspended.

So if you have a clean or nearly clean record, you can get away with most anything in schools without even a proverbial slap on the wrist.


Can you imagine the pandemonium and prison-like behavior of students once they get wind of this new policy, now state law?

Do you want your child attending school where bad behavior is almost encouraged and protected by law?