Category Archives: Concerns

Dangerous Federal FERPA Changes

Districts around the state (including Davis & Wasatch County) are revising their local FERPA policies to allow more of student’s personal information to be given without parental consent. This allows for children to be tracked and national databases to be created.

FERPA stands for “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act” (20 U.S.C. 1232g (US Code)) 

It was originally put into law in 1974 at the federal level to limit the amount of children’s personally identifiable information that could be given without parental consent.

There are federal and state FERPA laws, as well as district FERPA policies. In 2011, the US Dept. of Education created a new FERPA regulation that went into effect Jan. 3, 2012.  Regulations are usually created by non-elected departments and therefore DO NOT pass through congress, but in essence they are observed the same as law.

The US Dept. of Education created this new regulation (34 CFR Part 99) which significantly broadens the definition of “personally identifiable information” as well as the term “authorized representatives”.

According to the regulation, “personally identifiable information” includes:

The term includes, but is not limited to—

(d)  A personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number, student number, or biometric record;

(f)  Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or 

Wondering what in the world “biometric record” means and what is includes?

Biometric record,” as used in the definition of “personally identifiable information,” means a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.

This allows for a collection of personal health records!

As a parent, I had to ask myself, to whom is this information being given?  The answer is found in the regulation with the definition of “Authorized representative”

 Authorized representative” means any entity or individual designated by a State or local educational authority or an agency headed by an official listed in § 99.31(a)(3) to conduct – with respect to Federal- or State-supported education programs – any audit or evaluation, or any compliance or enforcement activity in connection with Federal legal requirements that relate to these programs.

So, our children’s personal information can be given to:  Pretty much anyone without parental consent.

Specifically, we have modified the definition of and requirements related to ‘‘directory information’’ to clarify (1) that the right to opt out of the disclosure of directory information under FERPA does not include the right to refuse to wear, or otherwise disclose, a student identification (ID) card or badge;

(6)(i) The disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to:

(A) Develop, validate, or administer predictive tests;

(B) Administer student aid programs; or

(C) Improve instruction.

What is predictive testing? Here’s one definition from Wikipedia.

Predictive testing is a form of genetic testing. It is also known as presymptomatic testing. These types of testing are used to detect gene mutations associated with disorders that appear after birth, often later in life. These tests can be helpful to people who have a family member with a genetic disorder, but who have no features of the disorder themselves at the time of testing. Predictive testing can identify mutations that increase a person’s risk of developing disorders with a genetic basis, such as certain types of cancer. For example, an individual with a mutation in BRCA1 has a 65% cumulative risk of breast cancer. Presymptomatic testing can determine whether a person will develop a genetic disorder, such as hemochromatosis (an iron overload disorder), before any signs or symptoms appear. The results of predictive and presymptomatic testing can provide information about a person’s risk of developing a specific disorder and help with making decisions about medical care.

Of course, predictive testing can also relate to determining where children are best suited in a centrally planned education-to-work system. Things are in the works to identify which children are suited for college vs. a trade school earlier than graduation, so that deficiencies and college-level remediation can be redirected.


Why would the federal government want to track genetic and medical information coupled with educational information in a cradle to grave longitudinal database (which Utah has implemented)? Why is the Gates Foundation funding biometric tracking? Why is the Gates Foundation co-hosting the London International Eugenics Conference with Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) next month? Why would the Department of Health and Human Services under Kathleen Sebelius (responsible for the FERPA changes listed above) be offering $75 million in grants for schools to open health clinics inside their schools away from parental oversight? Why did the Gates Foundation sign a 2004 agreement with UNESCO (U.N. Education arm) to create a global education system and then pay nearly $20 million to the National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State Superintendents Organization to prompt them to create Common Core?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the federal government is in the business of control and not education. Why aren’t Utah leaders moving to protect Utahn’s from these overreaches of the federal government? Schools will become the ultimate laboratories in fulfillment of Marc Tucker’s dream for creating central planning for the American workforce.


Gates Funds Functional MRI’s for School Children to Measure Brain Activity

If you have been following the Common Core movement, you know that it was the Gates foundation that pushed for and funded the creation of the Common Core standards by pumping nearly $20 million into the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State Superintendents Organizations. It is the goal of the Gates Foundation to create a global education system, but beyond that, they are involved in some very invasive classroom technologies as well.

High Tech Biometric Bracelets to Be Worn by Teachers and Students

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has just granted Clemson University $498,055 to work with members of the Measuring Effective Teachers (MET) team to measure engagement physiologically with Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) bracelets.  Students and teachers are to wear these devices to measure excitement, attention, anxiety, boredom or relaxation in order to measure teacher effectiveness. Read more…

Gates Funds Functional MRI’s for School Children to measure brain activity

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave a grant for $621,285 to the National Commission on Time & Learning to study the electronic bracelet and functional MRI’s for children. Functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, is a technique for measuring brain activity. It works by detecting the changes in blood oxygenation and flow that occur in response to neural activity. It is non-invasive, safe for the subject and easy for the experimenter to use making it a popular tool for imaging normal brain function – especially for psychologists. Read more…

(Update: 5/6/13 The Gates Foundation has taken down the link above. Here is a screenshot of the page they have removed. Click to enlarge.)

gates foundation functional mri grants

Gates Funds High Tech Temporary Tattoo for Collecting Brain and Muscle Signals. Developer Envisions Use in Education.

Described as an electronic “tattoo”, the device is a wearable patch of circuits, sensors, and wireless transmitters that sticks to the skin like a temporary tattoo. It can be placed over an existing tattoo to minimize attention. Electrical signals from the brain and skeletal muscles transmit the information wirelessly to an external computer. “…efficient union(s) between brains and machines is a central theme of (Todd) Coleman’s research and he envisions endless applications in areas such as military operations, gaming, education…” Read more…

Gates Sponsored Organization Urges Dept of Ed to Increase Learning Time at School in Order for Districts to Qualify for Race to the Top Grants.

“The National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) submitted a very detailed comment on the Department of Education website urging the Department to incorporate expanded learning time in the upcoming round of Race to the Top, which is focused on individual school districts as opposed to states.”

Teachers to be Videotaped During Class Along with Wearing Biometric Bracelets

“The goal of the (Gates Foundation) MET project is to improve the quality of information about teaching effectiveness available to education professionals within states and districts—information that will help them build fair and reliable systems for teacher observation that can be used for a variety of purposes…This information will include videotaped classroom observations, student surveys, tests of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, and analyses of student assessment data to examine achievement gains over time.”

Texas: Students Will Be Tracked Via Chips in IDs
Northside Independent School District plans to track students next year on two of its campuses using technology implanted in their student identification cards in a trial that could eventually include all 112 of its schools and all of its nearly 100,000 students. District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance. Read more…

Reigniting the Math Wars over the Death of Calculus

When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, I was always very good in math, but I was lazy about it. It came naturally to me but I disliked homework so I avoided doing it. When I hit Junior High, I hit a brick wall that really threw me. Algebra was confusing. I wound up needing tutoring one summer and in the end took algebra 1 in 9th grade. By this point I’d been thinking about careers and thought it would be my desire to be an aerospace engineer and a pilot in the Air Force (the dreams we have… :) ). I knew I needed calculus by 12th grade but I would not be able to do it taking algebra 1 in 9th grade. So in 10th grade I doubled up and took geometry and algebra 2 to get back on track and I was able to take calculus in 12th grade.

In Utah, this would have also been possible in the past, but now with the way Utah adopted Common Core it will be extremely difficult for students who are late bloomers or late to get serious about school. Since Common Core, as adopted by Utah, completes algebra 1 in 9th grade, most students will wind up needing pre-calculus in 12th grade after completing Math 3 in 11th grade. Junior high placement in an honors track would be the path to calculus and most children don’t fall into that category. So much for the tech community needs in Utah.

When Utah adopted the Common Core standards, there were two methods for adopting math. Option one was as discrete years of study where algebra, geometry, etc… were taken as individual courses. Option 2 was an integrated approach where these courses weave and blend together each year and students get a little of each subject as they might relate to each other. Utah and Vermont were the only two states in the country to choose the integrated approach in spite of the fact that the public was told one of the great things about Common Core was portability of students between states.

Utah’s educrats at the USOE were warned by BYU math professor David Wright, that in choosing this integrated approach there would be no textbooks available that would provide for this integrated sequencing. USOE brushed his concerns aside and said they would develop the materials themselves. So they hired some of the biggest constructivist-leaning math educators* in the state to produce what has turned out to be utter garbage. I don’t believe any of these people are PhD’s and I recognize a couple of the names as junior high and high school teachers in Alpine School District. These people should NOT be writing curriculum. Imagine 9th graders (especially boys) being excited about math when they get these assignments:

Lesson Titles from Module 1 on systems of equations and inequalities:

Pet Sitters

Too Big or Not Too Big, That is the Question

Some of One, None of the Other

Pampering and Feeding Time

All for One, One for All

Get to the Point

Shopping for Cats and Dogs

Can You Get to the Point, Too?

Food for Fido and Fluffy

Taken Out of Context

Pet Sitters Revisited

These sound like titles for 2nd graders, not 9th graders. You can check it out here:

I asked some people from around the country who have worked on standards and curriculum for their review comments on this “curriculum” and this one summed up the situation pretty well.

Sorry. Wanted to help, but there is not enough here to criticize. It isn’t a text or a curriculum.

For starters, you can’t learn anything by reading it.

Dr. Stephen Wilson, Johns Hopkins University Math Professor

Susan Holladay in Idaho commented:

This just makes me want to cry. I hope the State Department increases the I90’s so that we can have plenty of foreigners who can fill our needs in math related industries. What a sad joke!

The constructivist educators are constantly espousing they want children to have a deeper understanding of math and deal with real world problems, yet they give children no instruction or examples to learn or study with. By the time children are done with this math program, these titles may truly reflect real world math problems students are capable of. I don’t imagine we’ll see any titles like “Building the Brooklyn Bridge” (which appears now to have been sold to Utahns).

Parents will also have great difficulty helping their children with math because there are no example problems to remember how to do the problems with. This fulfills the Progressive’s idea of separating parents from children and making teachers the “smart ones” in children’s eyes who know how to solve the problems.

Two separate parents emailed me last week illustrating the death of calculus to be true. The first was a letter sent to the USOE.

Ms. Suddreth,

My daughter is in ninth grade at Wasatch High School, where Common Core was implemented this year.

I want you to know that neither she nor any other ninth grader who took the Common Core math learned anything at all this year.  It was a waste of time, money, and children’s minds!

It may be a surprise to you that Algebra I is assigned to 9th graders under Common Core.  Before, last year, Algebra I was assigned to 8th graders.

Please provide an explanation.  I have seen the words “rigor,” “college readiness” and “high standards” applied in conjunction with Common Core at the USOE website and at our local Wasatch District website.  This is false advertising.

I have made this math robbery very clear to my local board and principal.

They tell me their hands are tied because the state school board has pushed Common Core on them.

Please let me know what you plan to do about it.

   Went to a district meeting this week up here in Park City touting the wonders of the Common Core math which we have been experiencing all year.  In a room full of angry parents, they explained in an attempt to get us to cut them some slack, that the reason the kids really didn’t learn anything this year and only did a repeat of material they already learned (ie: my daughter did 5th grade level math in 8th grade all year) was because the teachers really have not learned yet how to teach this new way of teaching math, and they still do not have any textbooks.  But they hope to have some online textbooks by next year.  When asked why on earth they would start this when they clearly were not ready,  the presenter said it was because the kids now in 9th grade need to be able to pass some test at the end of 11th grade so they wanted them to be ready. When asked why are we so concerned about the tests and not having the proper curriculum to be teaching off of, she totally slipped up and said, “because this is how the FEDERAL GOV’T wants us to implement it.  She practically gasped once it was out of her mouth as if to try and suck the words back in from out of the air and quickly corrected herself saying, “well not the gov’t but the state lead consortium.

They showed an example of some of the 6th grade math.  What a joke.  “Lets say your going to divide a fraction into another fraction.  Well before we can do that we need to get the students thinking “deeper”.  Why would you need to divide a fraction?  And what exactly is division? Why is division a necessary thing to know/learn. Once we know the kids understand the deeper meaning of what it is they are going to be doing, then we can proceed in teaching them”   WHAT!!!!!!!??????????  They told us that the kids would  be interacting with each other more to “find the deeper meaning of things” and the teachers would be interacting less with the students and they would be using less material.  WHAT!!!!??????

One mom  pointed out that the ACT & SAT tests are revised only every 10 years and thinks they were revised just a few years ago. So when her 8th grader is in 11th grade taking these tests, how will they prepare these kids for the tests since the new math and whatever other Common Core wonders they will be using by then will be different material than what is asked of them on the ACT & SAT tests.  Her response was that  “46 states have adopted it, so they will have to adapt the tests somehow”  In other words, she really didn’t know.  To which I added, “Not all school districts in 46 states have handed their kids laptops as ours has, my daughter has not hand written anything in 2 years now, and they spell check , they are losing their ability to write & spell and the ACT & SAT tests have a hand written in cursive essay.  And my understanding is that as of last year at least our district stopped teaching cursive in 3rd grade, they just don’t see the need for it anymore. How will they prepare the kids for essay writing for those tests?  SHE HAD NO ANSWER, just said yes they realize this may be a problem someday.  WHAT????  They have not thought any of this garbage through.

I also asked how were the Universities going to view kids college applications/transcripts that list 9th, 10th & 11th grade math.  No Algebra, No geometry, to Pre Calc or Trig.  She tried telling us that it was the Universities who were asking for this kind of math to be taught so the kids would be more college ready.   Yeah right!

Our state office of education is in need of an ideological cleansing. It’s time to look at what works and mimic it, before trying to go our own way with proven failures. Constructivism is a proven failure. Singapore math is a proven winner (as are several other strong curricula). If the state of Utah was serious about adopting high standards and excellent curriculum, they would switch to a proven world leader in math and mimic it.  Singapore. Common Core was never about setting high standards, it was about getting money from the federal government through Race to the Top grants.

*If you are unfamiliar with constructivism (also called discovery learning), it is a philosophy that has ignited what has been termed the “math wars” because of it’s approach to teaching which emphasizes group work and students developing strategies to solve problems. There are merits to this approach when used sparingly and in ways to open up the mind for teaching, but it has been carried to the extreme where the philosophy has become the entire curriculum. It is highly popular and everyone is told there are so many studies that support this method of teaching. In reality, there are no studies that support this style of teaching. If you want more information please see these two pages which fully expose this false philosophy.

Project Follow Through – the largest education study ever performed

A study of studies showing no peer reviewed studies exist supporting constructivism

Conflicts of Interest in Adopting Common Core

Jim Stergios, writing for the Boston Globe, uncovered a trail of conflicts of interest that resulted in Massachusetts adopting Common Core and lowering their own standards to do it. Read how the governor and other education officials were pressured and bribed to make the move. Naturally, the Gates Foundation is involved since the Common Core standards were created by their funding and it’s their job to ensure everyone adopts them. Follow the money here:

Self-Dealing Among Education Officials by Jim Stergios


Children are Unique

In manufacturing parts from materials, we strive to create uniformity and consistency. In raising children, everyone knows within their home that their children are all unique with diverse interests, talents, and abilities.

Progressives largely view children as objects which can be acted upon and shaped to their specifications. For decades they have sought to create the perfect widget in education so they could take children and mold them into pieces ready to be fitted to the purpose for which they have planned. They have wanted to track children from birth into the workforce and now they have just about succeeded by implementing Common Core.

In February 2012, the Utah Education Network released a press release announcing the selection of Choice Solutions as the partner to implement the P20W database to track our children from pre-school, through college, and into the workforce. Marc Tucker’s dream of a cradle to grave system which he wrote to Hillary Clinton in 1992 is coming to fruition and we are jumping in with both feet thanks to bureaucrats who jump into federal money like it’s an inviting hot tub.

Someone sent me this article yesterday (One-Size Education Doesn’t Fit by Donald Devine) which goes back a step further to a 1989 National Governor’s Association meeting chaired by Bill Clinton where national standards were a major topic and eventually led to No Child Left Behind. Now Common Core promises to complete the circle by bringing national standards and assessments under the federal umbrella and store all our children’s personal information (including medical) in a near cradle-to-grave system of widget manufacturing. Children aren’t widgets! They aren’t things to be acted upon. They have free will and need a system that allows for them to work within their own personal capabilities and interests.

A radical idea to transform what kids learn in school by Marion Brady in the Washington Post

Educate for human variety not uniformity by Lynn Stoddard

We should be setting the bar high, but recognize the infinite variety within each child and allow for them to have an educational path that meets their needs and desires and allows them to achieve the goals and dreams they have.

If you are not familiar with the articles listed above, I strongly encourage you to at least browse through them to become familiar with the concepts.



The Incredibly Biased Common Core Survey

Last week someone alerted me to a survey on Common Core that was posted on It appeared to be sponsored by KSL and the post author was Bryan Schott. The survey was incredibly biased as you can see below. In addition, I received an email that had been forwarded out by Diana Suddreth at the Utah State Office of Education where she instructed staff to:

Please distribute this very important survey to interested stakeholders.  We won’t talk about the statistical implications of a survey dependent on people logging in to take it…unless we have to.

How embarrassing is that? Naturally, if the survey went their way, they would claim it as accurate. If it didn’t, they would talk about how it’s a not a valid representation of opinions. Fortunately for them, they got one of their own to write the survey to make sure it came out just like they wanted.

Here is how the survey was posted when people were taking it, and how it NOW appears on the UtahPolicy results page (click to see all results and leave a comment). This is a textbook example of how to intentionally deceive the public and the creator of the survey and the people that posted it should be ashamed of themselves.

When askedAs now presented after tallying
An emerging debate in public education is Common Core standards.1. In your opinion, which side is right?
Supporters who say these voluntary standards were developed collaboratively by leaders in many states, not by the federal government, to establish more rigorous achievement goals that will prepare students to compete in a global economy.No change
Opponents, especially arch-conservatives, who fear Common Core standards will compromise Utah values, threaten local control of education, and impose one-size-fits-all requirements.Opponents who fear Common Core standards will compromise Utah values, threaten local control of education, and impose one-size-fits-all requirements.

Note the bolded text. The first phrase “especially arch-conservatives” doesn’t even appear in the question any more but was there for all the vote taking. Other words denote very negative feelings and the entire answer is colored in such a way as to create a negative impression. Further, it seeks to isolate Democrats who might oppose Common Core because they value local control and more freedom for teachers and students. What Democrats would want to associate themselves with “arch-conservatives?” The results bear this out as 0% of Democratic Insiders voted for the opponents of Common Core. The survey did it’s intended job.

The writer then published 39 comments, 17 in the section following this question. Only 3 on the entire page seemed clearly against common core. I personally received several emails from people who left negative comments and none of those were published. Any respectable publication would never have engaged in this type of childish politicking. For a major news organization (KSL) and a website (UtahPolicy) that claims their mission is to “help leaders in the Utah Public Policy Industry obtain those skills and insights, save time and perform their jobs better,” I give them both an “F” on this humiliating effort.

When they decide to actually do an objective job of researching and reporting, it would be interesting to see how public opinion actually sways since most of the public doesn’t even know what Common Core is. We’re still waiting for the USOE to respond to the direct rebuttal of their “fact” flier. We sent it to them, the state school board, legislators, and the media. They weren’t happy about it, which might be why they wanted to put this survey out.


ObamaCare Coming to a School Near You

Obama Pours Millions into Building and Renovating Healthcare Centers on School Campuses

As the U.S. Supreme Court mulls the constitutionality of the Democrats’ Affordable Care Act which appropriates $200 million for the School-Based Health Center Capital Program, last Wednesday $75 million in taxpayer money became available to build and renovate health clinics inside schools. The recommendations “envision a greater federal role in make [sic] health part of the academic curriculum.”

According to the CNSNews article,

 “Wellness is not relegated to an occasional health lesson or physical education class—it is part of math, science, lunch and everything in between. It means providing teachers with professional development related to children’s physical and emotional development, and integrating health into every subject, reward system and classroom management strategy.

Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health said,

“[T]hese recommendations represent a major culture shift in how the nation views health – health will no longer be separated from education, transportation, housing and other clearly connected policies,”

School Based Health Centers Services usually include

  • Reproductive/Sexual Health services
  • Mental Health Care
  • Immunizations
  • Dental Services
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Chronic Disease Care
  • Acute Care
  • Well-child Exams

Could it happen in Utah? It already has.

Several have been built in Utah in the last few years. Canyon Heights School Based Health Center is located between a college, a high school and a Jr. High in Davis School District and includes mental health services and family planning.

Are your Child’s health records safe?

“Schools (will) track health and wellness data, which would be used to make “data-driven decisions” about how health and wellness impact student learning.”

With new FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) changes urging schools to share personally identifiable information (See footnote 1 below) which includes biometric and psychometric data, with state, federal and private organizations (without parental permission), adding health clinics to schools makes additional private records accessible to outside interests. In addition, FERPA trumps HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) (section 160.103 & see footnote 2 below) so anything written into FERPA will overrule HIPAA laws.

The goal is to track all children (which Utah has signed onto with a Preschool to Workforce database implementation) and their personal records from Pre-K to age 20 and into the workforce.

What’s the Big Picture?

In this short video, US Dept of Education’s Arne Duncan outlines the Administration’s goal of 21st Century Education and how School-based Health Care Centers are a part of that vision of 12 hour a day/12 month full-service community schools where children are schooled, fed, and all of their social, physical, mental and health needs are met. No need for parenting! He calls this a “battle for social justice.”

What does this have to do with Common Core?

First the Obama Administration pushed through unconstitutional ObamaCare, nationalized health care. Then in an unprecedented executive branch takeover, they nationalized education through Common Core by persuading State Governors to sign on promising a waiver to No Child Left Behind. First they created a national crisis and then they ‘fixed’ it with more federal control, using your tax dollars.

By building School Based Health Care Centers, the Federal Government has combined nationalized healthcare with nationalized education, removed your parental rights, and seized access to the personal data of your children from their pre-school through their working years.

What happens Health and Education decisions are dictated from the top?

Two Utah High Schools Fined $16,000 and $19,000 for

Not Unplugging Vending Machines During Lunch.

Two years ago Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010, creating federal food police at our local schools. Today, two Utah high schools have been fined $16,000 and $19,000. What were their crimes? During their lunch hour, someone accidentally forgot to unplug the soda vending machines for 47 minutes (though students can purchase soda right before lunch and drink it then). Now the students are the ones being punished because thousands of dollars will have to be taken out of their arts and music programs. How does this creates better education or better health?


Footnote 1: from Code of Federal Regulations Title 34: Education

99.3 What definitions apply to these regulations?

“Biometric record: as used in the definition of personally identifiable informationmeans a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.

“Personally Identifiable Information:

The term includes, but is not limited to—

(a) The student’s name;

(b) The name of the student’s parent or other family members;

(c) The address of the student or student’s family;

(d) A personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number, student number, or biometric record;

(e) Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name;

(f) Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or

(g) Information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.”


Footnote 2: from Dept. HHS Regulations Section 160.103

Protected health information means individually identifiable health information:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph

(2) of this definition, that is:

(i) Transmitted by electronic media;

(ii) Maintained in electronic media;


(iii) Transmitted or maintained in any other form or medium.

(2)  Protected health information excludes individually identifiable health information in:

(i) Education records covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1232g;

Controlling Education From the Top: Why the Common Core is Bad for America

There’s a wealth of clearly written and referenced information –much you may not know– in a white paper released this week:   Controlling Education From the Top: Why the Common Core is Bad for America.  (by American Principles Project and Pioneer Institute)

The first section focuses on the mediocrity of the standards, which have redefined “college readiness” as preparing students for non-selective two year colleges, and not for four year universities.

The paper details the circumvented federal laws, the loss of sovereignty and family privacy, the costs to taxpayers, the misleading and imposing upon states by the U.S. Department of Education, and more.

A highlight of the paper is the observation of math standards by James Milgram, Common Core Validation Committee Member, and by Ze’ev Wurman (mathematician, Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education 2007-2009, and California Common Core Standards Commission Evaluation member.)

The mathematicians point out that Algebra I is not introduced until ninth grade under Common Core (previous to Common Core, in Utah, Algebra I was introduced in 8th grade).  Common core starts teaching decimals only in grade 4, two years behind standards for high-standard states and countries. Common core fails to address mathematical induction and parametric equations, fails to teach prime factorization and barely touches on logarithms. It also fails to include conversions among fractions, decimals, and percents.  Common Core de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation, which is a prerequisite for advanced mathematics, and effectively redefines algebra as “functional algebra,” which does not prepare students for STEM careers.

The list goes on and on and on. There is so much to learn in this white paper.

Many of us are printing hard copies, highlighting them, and hand delivering them to local school board members, teachers and administrators.

Please read the document for yourself and share it.

Say NO to Common Core Science Standards

The new Common Core science standards have been released and word has it that the Utah State Office of Education is excited to embrace them. The major issue with these standards is that they don’t teach science anymore, but only an appreciation for science that includes climate change and evolution (without contradictory views).

(read the new CC science standards here)

One review of the science standards was done last year by Ze’ev Wurman who has served as a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Dept. of Education, as well as serving on the California Academic Content Standards Commission. His review shows that these standards are not about raising people who create technology, but are geared toward helping people consume technology. This is easily understood in the framework of events that show the Gates Foundation was the driving force behind the Common Core standards.

(Read Ze’ev’s review of the Common Core science standards here)

If Utah were to adopt science standards, can anyone imagine them NOT adopting the sure-to-follow history standards?

The standards are in a period of public review where they are collecting feedback. On the science standards page, to the right you’ll see a block and link where you can read and comment on the first draft. I would read Ze’ev’s review and then read the standards and make comments.

Then please email your state school board member, your legislators and the Governor, and ask them not to adopt the Common Core science standards which will actually hurt real science. Each of those links will take you to the pages for you to find your representative’s contact information. It is a good idea for you to have a cheat sheet of who represents you and how to contact them so you don’t have to continually look this information up.

SBAC and Utah’s Database

Dear Utah State School Board,

First, thank you for putting on last Thursday’s statewide forum.  It was an admirable display of freedom of speech and thought in America.  Both sides were treated with fairness and respect.

Second, I’m asking you to review some additional research as you weigh educational data-collection methods and as you advise school boards statewide on whether to submit to federal requests for local FERPA revisions.

We realize that oppressive federal controls are in place over the SBAC via our Cooperative Agreement  and for that reason, I believe some state school board members may be wisely leaning toward getting Utah out of the SBAC testing consortium.

There are also unpleasant federal control attempts coming to Utah related to the longitudinal database Utah has built with a $9.6 million dollar federal stimulus grant.  Utah parents deserve to know that the aggregated, purely academic, standardized testing and data comparison of the past is very different from standardized testing set up now.  Testing scores will not be limited to academic data.  All data collected by schools will be up for perusal by virtually anyone, including the federal government.

According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment act, states had to agree to build database systems according to federally dictated standards to qualify for stimulus money. All 50 states are capable of maintaining extensive databases on public-school students. Utah’s database meets all essential components outlined by the federal government.

The database includes non-academic information. (According to the National Data Collection Model) it will include health-care history, nicknames, family income, family voting status, gestational age of students at birth, student ID number,  bus stop times, and so much more –and not just information about kids, but families.

You can view the National Data Collection Model database attributes (data categories) at

As of January 3, 2012 the Department of Education implemented changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and overrode the privacy protections Congress included in FERPA, the Competes Act, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act where privacy protection of student information was secure.

The changes allow access to any of the information in the databases by anyone!  (They say “authorized representative” but later re-define it so loosely as to lose all power.)

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC, Creating a Longitudinal Data System, 2006) recommended that states include 10 essential elements when building a highly effective longitudinal data system, and Utah has all ten.  These include:

1. A unique statewide student identifier

2. Student-level enrollment, demographic and program participation information

3. The ability to match individual students’ test records from year to year to measure academic progress

4. Information on untested students

5. A teacher identifier system with the ability to match teachers to students

6. Student-level transcript information, including information on courses completed and grades earned

7. Student-level college readiness test scores

8. Student-level graduation and dropout data

9. The ability to match student records between the Pre–K–12 and postsecondary systems

10. A state data audit system that assesses data quality, validity, and reliability

Please ask our state contact, John Brandt, to explain and validate what I am saying.

John Brandt
Information Technology Director
Utah Office of Education


To reference the above, here’s Utah’s report to the national data collectors:

Here’s Utah being praised by the national data collectors:  (And lastly, when you have 45 minutes to watch this video, here’s a well researched and evidence-based  presentation by an Oklahoma think tank that clearly explains how the data collection councils (P-20 council) literally conflict with parent-empowering FERPA laws.

If you think that none of the data collection technologies are federally relevant, think again.  We are told that we must allow all “stakeholders” access to this database.  The specific stakeholders are listed; included in the very lengthy list of who can or should read all this data are:  “Other public agencies serving children — to understand the relationship between their services and educational outcomes.”

Yes, that would absolutely include the federal government.

Thank you again for all your time, research, and the care you put in to our educational system.  I feel that we are all in this together and if we pool our research efforts we can come up with solutions that are free of federal intrusions and yet uphold educational excellence in this state.


Christel Swasey

Heber City