Parents – Don’t be deceived about data collecting on your children

In response to the article by Bill Maddox with Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education where he claims Common Core does not require the collection of any data about students:

I always find it interesting that the proponents of Common Core nationalized standards never provide proof of what they claim. So, in my response I will supply the documentation so parents can do their own research to know the truth about the privacy issues surrounding the collecting of data on their children.

Parents need to know that data collecting on our nation’s government school children has been ongoing for decades. The U.S. Department of Education’s own handbooks on data-gathering on students and faculty should be enough to satisfy any freedom-loving citizen.

The two publications are the Student Data Handbook for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education (NCES 94–303) released in June 1994, and the Staff Data Handbook: Elementary, Secondary and Early Childhood Education (NCES 95–327) released in January 1995. Both Handbooks were produced under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The Foreword for the Student Data Handbook states: “NCES is pleased to release the 1994 Student Data Handbook: Elementary, Secondary and Early Childhood Education. It is a major effort to establish current and consistent terms, definitions and classification codes to maintain, correct, report and exchange information about students.

When this effort began, the only existing national standards for student data had been published by NCES in 1974. Because student data have evolved greatly over time both in the type and format of data maintained, it was essential that new standards be developed that would reflect current practices. NCES has a strong commitment to provide technical assistance and support to the education community to facilitate the collection, reporting, and use of high quality education information. This handbook is one outcome of that commitment. It is but one in a series of related handbooks and manuals that NCES has published in the past and plans to continue to develop in the future.”

So, what is the relationship between Common Core and data-collection? As part of Race to the Top, and elsewhere in the 2009 Stimulus bill, along with agreeing to adopt the Common Core standards, the states that wanted federal money had to commit to build massive student databases. These databases are designed to track children from preschool (or earlier), through college, and into the workforce. At this time, Georgia also agreed to move all the student (and teacher) data to Google servers for storage. If you are following the stories on the national data collecting by the NSA, you know that our federal government has access to all data stored on these servers, including our student’s information.

As you may know by now, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) are the organizations that the proponents of Common Core standards point to as the “state led” component of development. Citizens should know that these are private trade organizations with no legislative authority to change education standards. Only Georgia’s General Assembly has the constitutional authority to do so. Being private entities they are not subject to open meeting or open record laws.

A 2008 report by the NGA, the CCSSO, and Achieve, Inc. (another private trade organization contracted by the NGA and the CCSSO to develop the Common Core standards) titled Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education laid out the framework for the Common Core national standards. In this document is a list of actions including data collecting. (NOTE: accountability and measuring performance means collecting data):

Action 4: Hold schools and systems accountable through monitoring, interventions, and support to ensure consistently high performance, drawing upon international best practices.

Action 5: Measure state-level education performance globally by examining student achievement and attainment in an international context to ensure that, over time, students are receiving the education they need to compete in the 21st century economy.

Web link to this report: http://www.nga.org/cms/home/nga-center-for-best-practices/center-publica...

According to the website of Achieve, Inc (http://www.achieve.org/print/P-20-data-systems) “States must collect, coordinate, and use K-12 and postsecondary data to track and improve the readiness of graduates to succeed in college and the workplace.” Remember, Achieve, Inc. helped develop the Common Core national standards.

According to the website of the Council of Chief State School Officers (http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/Shared_Learning_Collaborative_%2...), Georgia became a Tier I participant in the collection of data through a Bill Gates company called the Shared Learning Collaborative. The website states “Although the SLC technology delivers the advantage of a common infrastructure for data integration and application interoperability, the end-user experience will be customized by participating states and districts.

According to a fact sheet produced by the CCSSO (http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/SLCFactSheet_...) “The collaborative is designing a shared technology infrastructure that will support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and help states and districts provide teachers with the instructional data and tools they need.”

The Shared Learning Collaborative has morphed into a Bill Gates company called inBloom (https://www.inbloom.org/). The stated vision of inBloom from their website: “inBloom is dedicated to bringing together the data, content and tools educators need to make personalized learning a reality for every student.” inBloom has a list of over 400 data points that it would like to collect on our students. The National Education Data Model recommends collecting over 400 data points – academic performance, disciplinary history, family income range, religious affiliation, health history, etc. https://www.inbloom.org/sites/default/files/docs-developer-1.0.68-201301...

Bill Gates has agreed to move the inBloom company headquarters to Atlanta. This is a “feather in the cap” for Governor Deal’s economic development goals. At one time Georgia was listed as a partner with this company on the inBloom website. Is this possibly why Governor Deal is so committed to keeping Georgia’s schools tied to this national standard rather than allowing us to maintain local control as the U.S. Constitution allows?

This listing of Georgia as a partner with inBloom has now been removed, probably due to the many phone calls to Governor Deal’s office from parents, teachers, and citizens across Georgia with concerns over this data collecting. However, do not think that this means that your child’s school is no longer collecting data, we are. In Fayette, the data collected is known as “Infinite Campus.” The national assessments are intended to create even more data. While Georgia has announced the pull out of our contract with the assessment consortia known as PARCC, Superintendent John Barge stated that Georgia will develop our own assessments aligned with Common Core. Notice that we are now assessing our children rather than having objective testing of knowledge.

According to the website, DataQualityCampaign.org, Georgia has completed 7 out of 10 “Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use.” These actions DO include collection of data, but according to this report Georgia is not yet sharing data across the P-20 education pipeline and across state agencies. However, this framework is in place and can be launched at any time.

A February Department of Education report titled “Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance” (http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report...) reveals the federal government’s plans for data-mining which includes the use of very disturbing monitoring techniques such as “functional magnetic resonance imaging” and “using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.” See page 44 of this report for images of this specialized equipment they would like to use on our children.

The DOE report exposes the big lie that Common Core is about raising academic standards by revealing its progressive designs to measure and track children’s “competencies” in “recognizing bias in sources,” “flexibility,” “cultural awareness and competence,” “appreciation for diversity,” “empathy,” “perspective taking, trust (and) service orientation.”

So, do not believe that just because Governor Deal issues an executive order that data should not be collected on our children that this means all data collecting has stopped. It hasn’t. And don’t believe that the partnership with inBloom has been dissolved.

I encourage parents to do their homework. Ask your school about what kind of data they are collecting. Demand to see your student’s records and data collected so far. Parents, teachers, and citizens should contact Governor Deal, and Superintendent of Schools, John Barge, and ask them to support the legislation in Georgia that WILL end the collecting of data and withdraw Georgia from the commitment of Common Core national standards. That bill is S.B. 167 sponsored by Senator William Ligon. For more information parents should go to www.StopCommonCore.com.

Angela Bean
Leadership Team
National Coalition United for Reforming Education
Fayetteville, Ga.

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Common Core
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I encourage parents to do their homework. Ask your school about what kind of data they are collecting. Demand to see your student’s records and data collected so far. Parents, teachers, and citizens should contact Governor Deal, and Superintendent of Schools, John Barge, and ask them to support the legislation in Georgia that WILL end the collecting of data and withdraw Georgia from the commitment of Common Core national standards. That bill is S.B. 167 sponsored by Senator William Ligon. For more information parents should go to www.StopCommonCore.com.

This is an excellent suggestion - and parents should also ask the local educational system how their child's data is being used to monitor and improve their childs progress. By withdrawing Georgia (and Fayette County) from Common Core - what federal monies will be lost - and how will that affect the local educational program? Fayette County has one of the better school districts in Georgia. (But the state of Georgia is at the bottom of our nations academic achievement list). Parents must always be involved and knowledgeable.

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