Dr. Thompson’s letter to Superintendent Menlove

Dr. Gary Thompson is the Utah child psychologist that has been on Glenn Beck’s show and written about the dangers of the behavioral testing under the new Utah assessment system as part of Common Core. He recently met with State Education Superintendent Menlove, and then sent him this letter (and sent me a copy with permission to post as well). In addition to Dr. Thompson’s letter, is a letter from Attorney Edward Flint, a special education attorney.

Dr. Gary Thompson
Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center, Inc.

Dr. Gary T. Thompson

Director of Clinical Training & Community Advocacy

 

Edward D. Flint, Esq.

Special Education Attorney at Law

 

www.earlylifepsych.com

 

Adaptive Testing & Utah Common Core

Introduction

The intricacies surrounding the psychometric qualities involved in adaptive testing, specifically the adaptive tests currently being designed by AIR (American Institutes for Research) via grants from the Federal Government and a $32,000,000 contract from Utah, are complex indeed.   This is a layman’s memo regarding minor, but important elements of CAT (Computerized Adaptive Testing) that I feel the community should have a basic understanding of, as well as specific populations of school aged children who may be adversely affected by the implementation of Common Core if significant “adjustments” are not made prior to implementation.

Basics of CAT (Computer Adaptive Testing)

Simply put, all CAT is nothing but the following:  The measurement of predetermined variables that result in a data set that can be interpreted.   That basic definition applies to any academic, cognitive, or psychological test.    More simply put, CAT measures “something.”   In terms of our involvement as parents, all we wish to know is what exactly are the tests being designed by AIR going to measure.  USOE states, in simplicity, that the AIR CAT tests are only going to measure academic related subjects, thus providing educators with data which shows the current progress of a individual student in those subjects.

I love adaptive testing.  While in graduate school, the study of the future implementations of adaptive testing in the fields of education and psychology were in its infancy in terms of having a finished “product” ready for dissemination for public and private agencies.   Professors estimated that within 5 years, that time would come.  It is now 5 years later, and yes indeed, the future of adaptive testing has arrived.  For certain populations of school aged children, this is indeed a great time in history, whereas these tests will assist them in their academic quests.

Capabilities of Adaptive Testing:

In a nutshell, as preached by representatives of USOE, adaptive testing is a remarkable tool designed to meet the academic measurement needs of a certain subset of Utah’s public schools students.   It is fast, and they are for the most part, highly statistically accurate.  With the exceptions of a student population that will be discussed later, I have little issues as local clinical community scientist with the push for implementing the latest and greatest technologies to assist with the accurate measurement of student progress in academics.   Mead and Drasgarb (1993) stated, “research on cognitive ability tests shows that adaptive tests, and paper-and-pencil tests lead to equivalent scores.  I believe the pilot testing results from AIR will show similar statistical accuracies regarding academic related tests with certain populations of school aged children.

However, along with the advancements of CAT in education, the psychology side of CAT has advanced even quicker along the lines of measuring psychological traits of people.    Hol (2008), stated, “In conclusion, this study indicates that there is potential for the development of adaptive test for personality assessment.” Having a doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in Forensics, this area of adaptive testing has always intrigued me, yet at the same time has brought a certain level of professional trepidation.   Test results of properly administered valid tests of any kind can assist people greatly.  Psychological test results in the hands of lay education officials will most likely result in errors, confusion, and possibly tragedy.

Conspiracy Theory or Valid Concern?

I’m not a psychometrician by any means.  I was taught by several of them in graduate school, some of them who had prior experiences working for researchers along the likes of AIR.  While learning the basis of this art in graduate school, we were often treated to stories of developments and research from within this rarified air of psychometric laboratories.  We also learned the basics of test design.  Suffice to say, I have zero doubt that the group of psychometricians and researchers both at my graduate school, and AIR have the potential and training to devise a test that measures any variables that they wish to measure.   Nevertheless, I also have zero doubt that these same skilled researchers are capable of designing “test within tests.”  

Anyone who states that AIR does not have the capacity to input selected variables that measure “behavioral characteristics”, along with variables that measure language arts, science or math is sorely misguided.   It would be relatively “easy” to design a language adaptive test that has behavioral characteristics embedded into the design of the test.  Formulas could be designed to produce two sets of results (language and behavior), and then forward the language test results to its intended target (Utah Schools), and the behavioral results to another intended target (Federal Government, Private Agencies).   I will put my reputation within the community on the line by stating that the psychometric capacities of doctoral level psychometricians can devise these “dual” test designs.

When you add into this equation that AIR stated mission is to “to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged,” any reasonable minded person, as well as a State Superintendent of Public Schools, should at least reasonably conclude that this billion dollar research corporation (AIR) with some of the brightest minds on the planet can design tests any way that they please, unless per contractual agreement and other applied constraints, they are expressly forbidden to do so.

Utah’s parents have been told in multiple town hall meeting by USOE that they will never be able to have access to testing questions devised by AIR in order to ensure “test integrity.”  Although I am impressed with USOE and various politicians who stated that 15 parents and a few politicians will be allowed to view the tests being designed by AIR, I question their qualifications to perform anything more than a cursory review of the questions being designed.  Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart may be able to balance a complex state budget, but I doubt that she has the necessary background in psychometrics to perform a critical analysis of the issues that need to be examined.

The average person that Ms. Lockhart and other education officials that have the honor of selecting the lucky 15 parents more than likely will not have the expertise to perform a critical analysis of the adaptive test designs being constructed by AIR on behalf of Utah’s students.   In fact, I would have to ethically decline such an invitation, since despite my doctorate in clinical psychology, I am not qualified to examine complex psychometrics that will be in place with the adaptive testing.   99.7% of you reading this letter in the State of Utah are not qualified either.

So the question remains of, “who is watching the Hen House?” This very basic question was not answerable during my meeting with the office of the Superintendent.

All of this leads to a very reasonable conclusion in this area of discussion.   Someone, independent of AIR, MUST have access to every single item on the tests being designed in order to insure and that absolutely ZERO behavioral indicators are being measured on tests that parents in Utah believe are only measuring “reading, writing and arithmetic”.  Undue paranoia?  Nope, just plain old American accountability to the parents of Utah’s children who not only deserve this, but have paid $32,000,000.00 of their tax dollars to have AIR design the test.   More importantly, the population of children discussed below, based upon current peer reviewed research, may be seriously adversely affected for the remainder of their academic careers if time is not taken to insure the viability of adaptive testing on their respective groups.

Children With Disabilities & Other Culture Related Issues:

AIR has provided absolutely zero evidence that the specific adaptive testing measures being utilized will be valid for the following populations whom, statistically and historically, have not performed well on standardized, or adaptive assessments:

  1. Children with ADHD
  2. African American Children
  3. Latino Children
  4. Asperger’s Children
  5. Autistic Children
  6. Children with Specific Learning Disorders
  7. Gifted Children who possess any of the above characteristics ( Commonly known as“2 L’s, or “Duel Exceptional Children)

This list is not exclusive. Nevertheless, the numbers of children in our state who can be categorized on the above list is staggeringly high.  Just recently, it was reported by researchers at the University of Utah that Utah has one of the highest numbers of children with Autism in the entire country.  That is 1 in every 5 children.  Do the math.

Suffice to say, this is common knowledge in the fields of psychological testing and assessment, and such core basic understanding of this is taught in every accredited graduate school in the country.   Implying, as was done in the USOE Alpine Town Hall Meeting, that any disability group in the country has approved a test (that has not yet to be designed) for the valid use with these populations, is disingenuous at the very least, or a flat out, deliberate misrepresentation to the parents of Utah (and the rest of the country) at worst.

Parents of these children need to see and review validity data PRIOR to subjecting their children to testing environments that may exasperate existing psychological conditions.  In the case of Latino and African American students, subjecting them to tests that have been properly validated for that culture may not only subject them to increased frustrations and decreased self esteem, but may ultimately not be the best type of tool to utilize to measure academic achievement.   Below is a brief snippet from my doctoral project/dissertation regarding African American School Aged Children:

“Do to time and emphasis spent on controlling alleged behavioral problems amongst African American children, many students of color are simply not taught the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure academic success (Webb-Johnson, 2002).  Award winning African American researcher, Patton (2001) refers to such phenomenon as “ABT” (Ain’t Been Taught).  This skill deficit is present because teachers not possess the cultural skill sets necessary to implement proper motivational practices, while simultaneously demanding high academic and behavioral standards (Webb-Johnson, 2002).”

More…….

“It has been documented that many African American students challenge the white middle class status quo of classroom decorum in a effort to express their unique cultural individuality to avoid tedious academic presentation (Webb-Johnson, 2002).  This is often expressed through game playing, and alleged deviant behaviors (Webb-Johnson, 2002).  Development of culturally sound contextual or assessment model that does not view these problems as residing in the child is essential because teacher’s perceptions on students have long lasting effects on school achievement (Meisels, Steele, & Quinn-Leering, 1993). “

Finally…..

“It has been shown that generally, Caucasian students are more object oriented and have developed a learning style that centers on performing task oriented work independently with individual achievement and competition as a conceptual framework (Hosp, 2001). “

Other assessment conceptual frameworks can be found in my (and other peer reviewed research across the spectrum) doctoral project that applies to Caucasion, ADHD, gifted, learning disordered, Autistic children, Latino and Duel Exceptional children of all races, that need to be considered when devising high stakes testing instruments.

None of this has been considered or articulated to the parents in Utah in writing or via the USOE Town Hall meetings that I have attended in person.

In other words, the voices of approximately 200,000 children in the State of Utah have not been heard.  Dr. Menlove, you as well as the elected members of the Utah State Board of Education, are the voice of these children, not the U.S. Department of Education, AIR, Utah politicians, or Bill & Melinda Gates.   You have an ethical, moral and professional obligation to examine the possible academic, emotional and psychological affects of a radical change in the way public school knowledge is taught and disseminated to these vulnerable, and oft misunderstood populations of local Utah children.

Conclusion:

Dr. Martell Menlove, State Superintendent of Schools, asked me what it would take to get my daughter Zoey enrolled in a Utah Public School Kindergarten.   Here is what it will take, in terms of the assessment/testing aspects associated with Common Core:

  1. A truly independent review by three independent, Board Certified, joint Ph.D. level psychometricians and licensed clinical psychologist, of all of the test items developed by AIR to ensure that there are no line item variables that could be reasonable utilized to measure “behavioral characteristics” as such may be defined by the American Psychological Association, or Journals published by this group.  (This list is pretty long).
  1. A “opt out option” for children with disabilities until data of validity and efficacy is published and disseminated to the public, which ensures fair and accurate measurement of academic achievement.
  1. An joint endorsement from the clinical AND educational psychology department heads of the University of Utah, Utah State University, Brigham Young University, Westminster College, and the clinical director of a private independent, APA approved school of psychology (Stanford’s School of Medicines Psychology program is an example (http://psychiatry.stanford.edu/education/pgsp.html) to the community of parents of African American, Latino, Autistic Spectrum, Learning Disabled parents signifying that the adaptive testing designed by AIR is “fair and equitable” when it comes to the measurements of academic achievement of these populations, and in the alternative, what other measures could be utilized to measure the cognitive and academic performance of these populations.
  1. Reasonable assurances and documented proof provided to the community that ALL data that will stored in the Utah UREx database will not include “behavioral indicators” that could be distributed to either AIR, or the U.S. Department of Education without INFORMED PARENTAL CONSENT OR WARNING.  (in plain speak please).
  1. A repeal recently passed bill H.B. 150, which, on line 59, specifically authorizes the State of Utah to gather “behavioral data” of Utah’s school, aged, public school children.
  1. Request assistance from the Office of the Attorney General to provide your office with plain speak guidance in regards to the complex, and intertwining Federal and State laws, regulations and Codes associated with FERPA, HIPPA laws of privacy.  Particularly, an opinion of the U.S. Department of Educations recent “adjustments” to FERPA laws that, for all intents and purposes, allows medical and psychological information being collected by public schools to be classified as “educational records” that can possibly be sold to the highest bidder or research company.

If ALL of these items are performed for not only my daughter Zoey, but on behalf of all children in the State of Utah, I will strongly consider not only enrolling her in a public school under your watch, I will recommend other parents in our community to consider this option also.   In the meantime, my child will not be enrolling in a public school in the State of Utah until these issues, at a minimum, are examined in the open, and your finding are disseminated publicly.

“Faith” is not a word commonly utilized by a doctoral local clinical community scientist trained advocate in professional settings.  Nevertheless, the buck stops with the Office of the State Superintendent of Schools.  I do have “faith” that the office will represent the needs of our children independent of the wishes, desires and intents of the U.S. Department of Education, multiple private political and private special interest groups, and divided law makers both in the local and Federal realms.

 

Best Regards;

 

Dr. Gary T. Thompson

Director of Clinical Training & Community Advocacy Services

Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center, Inc.

 

 

Utah Core/Common Core and Unresolved Privacy Issues

 

Edward D. Flint, Attorney at Law, Salt Lake City, Utah

April 15, 2013

 

(References Available Upon Request)

To keep people happy, I start with this personal disclaimer: I am a trial attorney and have primarily practiced criminal defense work since I was sworn in back in 1985. I am also the parent of a special education student and currently have taken on cases of special education advocacy under IDEA. Despite this background, and having my ear close to the ground on what I thought were the pressing issues of society the past few years, I totally missed Common Core and its Utah Core implementation, until very recently.

I am not aligned with any organization for or against it; I have not been paid or retained by anyone regarding Utah or Common Core. My son no longer attends public school and I currently rent, rather than directly pay property taxes that pay for public education, so I may not even have any skin in this game anymore. This statement is my personal opinion as a father and grandfather, a citizen/resident of this community and my view of things from the perspective of an attorney, not a legal opinion.  I repeat: this is not a legal opinion.

I am not here to rebuke CCSS or Utah Core as a “liberal socialist Obama agenda” or because it federalizes standards. I consider myself a “liberal,” a registered Democrat and call myself a “Socialist” when it scares away the local Amway salesman from the Ward.  Other professionals are better suited to discussion of curriculum, proficiency and standards issues, others still on methodology, testing and data interpretation. My focus is solely on privacy issues.

“The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.” (From the Department of Education website) *1

  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
    • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    • Accrediting organizations;
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
    • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school. *2

You can find the entire FERPA online, including the relevant portions pertaining to disclosure of student data at:  http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/34/99/subpart-D

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). *3   Nearly all states have adopted it, some are now reconsidering.

Federal “Race to the Top” and other grants require setting minimum floor standards which states must adopt in their core standards to be eligible for most federal education funding, which is a big chunk of all public district and charter school budgets.  *4   The race for a piece of an initial four and a half billion tax dollars with billions more in continued funding already approved by Congress, that is to say “the money, not your children” appears to be the driving force behind CCSS.

Parental and educator concerns regarding privacy center on the efficacy of current legal protections of personal information, potential deviations from the current laws as may be permitted by new regulations and exemptions to FERPA, and what to do about it.

Lawsuits have already been filed alleging that that the rules promulgated to permit Common Core to move forward with extensive data collection are an unconstitutional delegation of authority; that is, the new rules violate the old HIPPA and FERPA without Congress’ say-so, or if it is implied in Common Core that this new exception to long-standing privacy laws by rulemaking fiat is permissible, it exceeds the scope of authority to make such a decision. They can’t just make it up as they go along and skirt past the protections of existing privacy laws. *5

With Common Core, we have not just the potential, but the very real threat of negligent loss of the most private data as well as no clear restrictions on private business use or dissemination, even for profit, of what was once your child’s most private, intimate information. An analogy that struck home to me is this: Our children will have invisible yellow Stars of David on them that we can’t see and can’t restrict, but some private company or foolishly negligent government bureaucrat can see it, can make decisions based upon it, and we will never know until the consequences land squarely on the heads of our vulnerable children. That could be placement, scholarships, employment, any number of “consequences” of our children simply being who they are, but will follow them the rest of their existence.

Utah Core Curriculum Standards can be found here: http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/main/Core-Curriculum/By-Subject.aspx

Concerns about data mining are nothing new, even when it comes to public education. Two non-exhaustive articles with numerous references:   http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/css/cs300.htm

http://michellemalkin.com/2013/03/15/time-to-opt-out-of-creepy-fed-ed-data-mining-racket/

People inside the education industry have long recognized the privacy concerns of sharing information.

One example of an exception that was brought to my attention is Department of Health & Human Services Regulation Section 160.103 definitions, *6   and specifically this subsection:

(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;

So the question becomes, when does health information that can personally identify the individual to whom it pertains, become educational records. Because the law clearly makes it non-protected from the otherwise strictly controlled list of personal health information protected information.  This is where the ambiguity of the law and the lack of in-depth analysis prior to implementation becomes a problem. The problem. There are too many possible scenarios to list the ways the data could be acquired, legally or illegally.

The current standard the Utah State Office of Education and all schools in Utah must follow for maintaining the privacy of student information is found Utah Administrative Code, Education Rules R277-487-1 et. seq.  *7     The corresponding FERPA rules are found at 34 CFR 99.31 et seq. *8  These standards are adopted by and authorized in Utah by Utah Code Sec. 53A-13-301.

The frightening short story conclusion is that the CURRENT rules in place under FERPA and the Utah Administrative Code allow all sorts of exceptions to dissemination of personally identifiable student data to many outside sources. Disclosures without even seeking parental permission are already available to non-school employees who are contractors, consultants or even volunteers who have some legitimate reason to be in the chain of custody of your child’s personal information. Re-disclosure without parental consent is specifically forbidden, and then exceptions are carved out.  It is not too difficult for an individual or organization to have the qualifications required to be a “researcher” and although every effort is made to “de-identify” individual students, the methods of research available today and every new day, can defeat this alteration of data, if the “researcher” so chooses, even without human error or mistaken releases of information.

Obvious exceptions to sharing of educational information under the law include the Juvenile justice systems for specific minors, or the financial aid or even scholarship departments and outside personnel. The massive amounts of student data already in these other, excepted systems and companies and scanned from the “student directories” and other items already outside the scope of legal protection, is in itself, staggering. The cross-referencing of databases, the selling of databases that are not currently protected, the ease of supercomputers in correlating the identifiable data with the identifiable markers still embedded within the identity-removed data is already here, and only getting more efficient.

The very real potential is there for currently available information to be used in a manner most parents would never consent to, but also will never know about.

If the mixture of public education and data collection of Core expands government and private ability to gather and keep personal information from our children, even where personal identity markers have been scrubbed from the raw data, those who possess that raw data still have a goldmine of personal and valuable information, some of which could be used to identify the anonymous data by individual characteristics, identifying markers or correlation with publicly available data.  So, if the current protections are pretty useless in actually protecting the widespread gathering and dissemination of private student data, any weakening of these laws will lead to a dam-break of data.

Superintendent Dr. Martel Menlove of the Utah State Office of Education assured me personally that Utah Core does not seek, and no Utah public schools are now or plan in the future, to collect DNA specimens from students, with or without parental consent or prior notice. Likewise he assured that schools are not seeking, nor obtaining, nor storing nor passing on any personal data of students via behavioral or psychological testing. *9  Data that is passed on to the Federal authorities is “raw data” of test results, with all markers that could identify individual students removed, according to Dr. Menlove.

Dr. Gary Thompson and I authored our concerns recently that the potential exists for turning our children’s personal data, both what is available currently and what might be acquired over their dozen or so years in the public database collection system. Our discussion of DNA was only an example of a potential problem, not one that currently exists in the Utah public education system, and according to state leadership, never will be a problem.  But our concerns are genuine.

According to one source, “States and schools are signing over private data from millions of students to companies and researchers who hope to glean secrets of the human mind.

“Nine states have sent dossiers on students —including names, Social Security numbers, hobbies, addresses, test scores, attendance, career goals, and attitudes about school —to a public-private database, according to Reuters. Standardized tests are beginning to incorporate psychological and behavioral assessment. Every state is also building databases to collect and share such information among agencies and companies, and the U.S. Department of Education has recently reinterpreted federal privacy laws so that schools and governments don’t have to tell parents their kids’ information has been shared.”  *10

“Any researcher or organization wanting to plumb data – perhaps to help kids learn more, faster – can do so without trampling individual rights. First, the historic and accepted practice with student records has been to keep them anonymous when shared outside of schools. Researchers and government accountability gurus don’t need to know that Sally Smith failed Algebra I, even if her parents and teachers do. Researchers do not need personally identifiable information such as names, Social Security numbers, and addresses. They just need to know, for example, whether lots of students are failing Algebra I. Schools and states should check these privacy firewalls.”

Our concerns used DNA data mining as an example of current trends run amok.  “The DNA of virtually every newborn in the United States is collected and tested soon after birth. There are some good reasons for this testing, but it also raises serious privacy concerns that parents should know about.

“States require hospitals to screen newborns for certain genetic and other disorders. Many states view the testing as so important they do not require medical personnel to get parents’ express permission before carrying it out. To collect the DNA sample, medical personnel prick the newborn’s heel and place a few drops of blood on a card. There is one question that new parents rarely ask: What happens to the blood spots after the testing is done? This is where newborn screening becomes problematic.

“It used to be that after the screening was completed the blood spots were destroyed. Not anymore. Today it is increasingly common for states to hold onto these samples for years, even permanently. Some states also use the samples for unrelated purposes, such as in scientific research, and give access to the samples to others.”  *12

In Texas, the Department of State Health Services is being sued for not only storing, but allegedly unlawfully distributing, baby blood samples. “At a press conference in Austin today, plaintiff John Higgins and his attorney, Jim Harrington, accused DSHS of deception in selling blood samples to commercial pharmaceutical companies and sending blood samples to the Armed Forces DNA Identification laboratory. “My wife and I both were extremely upset when we found out about the data bank and the potential that [my daughter’s] DNA was going to be used or stored in some police, or military or Interpol, eventually, data bank,” Higgins said.” *13

KXAN-TV in Austin also discovered that the state profited from  trading blood spots for half a million dollars in lab supplies and services from a private company. “During [the 2009] settlement we repeatedly asked them did any of these spots go to commercial entities, did any of these go to police or security organizations? They repeatedly denied that that was going on. They told the Legislature the same thing,” Harrington said.” *14

State and federal DNA databases certainly include “Law enforcement’s use of these tools to search, profile and store the DNA of those who have not been convicted of a crime, without a court order or individualized suspicion, has already exceeded reasonable constitutional protections. In particular, a number of new genetic techniques and practices are providing law enforcement unprecedented access into the private lives of innocent persons by way of their own genetic data. These include: 1) a growing trend towards the permanent retention of DNA from innocent people in forensic DNA databanks; 2) trolling for suspects using DNA dragnets; 3) searching for partial matches between crime scene evidence and DNA banks to obtain a list of possible relatives for DNA analysis (“familial searching”); 4) constructing probabilistic phenotypic profiles of a perpetrator from DNA collected at a crime scene; and 5) surreptitiously collecting and searching DNA left behind on items such as cigarette butts and coffee cups.” *15

Police are not known for following privacy and search restrictions very well, despite repeated court rulings and thorough training. For example, Sacramento cops bypassed parents, and obtained “permission” directly from middle school students to take their DNA as part of a murder investigation, yet have no plans on destroying database when “done” with their investigation. *16

Our British cousins already collect and store at least 1.1 Million DNA samples of children involved “in the most minor offences” of the nation’s juvenile justice system, with no plans to purge the data, ever. *17    At least 40,000 of those children are innocent of any crime. *18

As Dr. Thompson and I have previously expressed, a “Minority Report” mentality already exists, and now we have the technology to act on that misplaced belief. Some are already pushing this in Britain, where widespread support for “safety” concerns to identify these “Potential Offenders” before they offend based on DNA compared traits to known deviants. “Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

‘If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,’ said Pugh. ‘You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.’”  *19

We have also expressed our concerns that Common Core methods could easily start including behavioral and psychological testing and data mining.  According to Joy Pullmann (jpullmann@heartland.org) who is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has recently changed federal privacy laws to allow information collected on congressionally mandated annual tests to be shared with any companies, agencies, or people federal officials designate.

Alabama has very strategically chosen not to be in one of the federally funded student testing consortia,” Bice said. Most states promised to replace their tests with ones currently under development by two Common Core “consortia,” or nongovernment nonprofits. Alabama’s board of education is instead considering new, Common Core-aligned tests for grades 3-12 from ACT, called Aspire, said board of education member Charles Elliott.”

At the very least, Utah’s Legislature, Governor and education boards should slow down and devise better, more secure methods of protecting our children’s private information.  This is the biggest, most comprehensive overhaul of our national education system in the history of our country.  Pausing to look at privacy issues (as well as the testing issues Dr. Thompson noted eloquently earlier) may be the wisest course of action for education leaders and lawmakers to consider.   This just simply happened to quickly without much need oversight from local educators, clinical psychologists, lawyers, and various advocacy groups in our diverse and wonderfully independent State.

Footnotes for Attorney Edward Flint’s Letter

*1        https://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

*2        Ibid.

*3        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Core_State_Standards_Initiative  (almost word for word what Brenda Hales stated about the background of Utah Core).

*4        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_to_the_Top

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/index.html

*5        Electronic Privacy Information Center, et al, v The U.S. Department of Education. United States District Court For The District of Columbia, Case Number 1:12-cv-00327).    Paragraph #4 of the law suit says, “Plaintiffs Grayson Barber, et.al., are current or former students of educational institutions in the United States, subject to FERPA, whose records continue to be maintained by these institutions and would be exposed to new privacy risks if the agency rule is not set aside.”

*6        Department of Health & Human Services Regulation Section 160.103

Health information means any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that:

(1) Is created or received by a health care provider, health plan, public health authority, employer, life insurer, school or university, or health care clearinghouse; and

(2) Relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual; the provision of health care to an individual; or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual.

 

Individually identifiable health information is information that is a subset of health information, including demographic information collected from an individual, and:

VerDate Mar<15>2010 10:07 Dec 16, 2010 Jkt 220187 PO 00000 Frm 00789 Fmt 8010 Sfmt 8010 M:\REMOTEWVA\220187.XXX ofr150 PsN: PC150780

§ 160.103 45 CFR Subtitle A (10–1–10 Edition)

(1) Is created or received by a health

care provider, health plan, employer,

or health care clearinghouse; and

(2) Relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual; the provision of

health care to an individual; or the

past, present, or future payment for

the provision of health care to an individual; and

(i) That identifies the individual; or

(ii) With respect to which there is a

reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify the individual.

 

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;

or

(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;

(ii) Records described at 20 U.S.C. 1232g(a)(4)(B)(iv); and

(iii) Employment records held by a covered entity in its role as employer. Secretary means the Secretary of Health and Human Services or any other officer or employee of HHS to whom the authority involved has been delegated.

*7        http://www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r277/r277-487.htm

https://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

*8

34 CFR 99.31

.Under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information?

(a) An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record of a student without the consent required by § 99.30 if the disclosure meets one or more of the following conditions:

(1) (i) The disclosure is to other school officials, including teachers, within the agency or institution whom the agency or institution has determined to have legitimate educational interests.

(B) A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions may be considered a school official under this paragraph provided that the outside party—

(1) Performs an institutional service or function for which the agency or institution would otherwise use employees;

(2) Is under the direct control of the agency or institution with respect to the use and maintenance of education records; and

(3) Is subject to the requirements of § 99.33(a) governing the use and redisclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

(ii) An educational agency or institution must use reasonable methods to ensure that school officials obtain access to only those education records in which they have legitimate educational interests. An educational agency or institution that does not use physical or technological access controls must ensure that its administrative policy for controlling access to education records is effective and that it remains in compliance with the legitimate educational interest requirement in paragraph (a)(1)(i)(A) of this section.

(2) The disclosure is, subject to the requirements of § 99.34, to officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.

Note: Section 4155(b) of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. 7165(b) , requires each State to assure the Secretary of Education that it has a procedure in place to facilitate the transfer of disciplinary records with respect to a suspension or expulsion of a student by a local educational agency to any private or public elementary or secondary school in which the student is subsequently enrolled or seeks, intends, or is instructed to enroll.

(3) The disclosure is, subject to the requirements of § 99.35, to authorized representatives of—

(i) The Comptroller General of the United States;

(ii) The Attorney General of the United States;

(iii) The Secretary; or

(iv) State and local educational authorities.

(4) (i) The disclosure is in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary for such purposes as to:

(A) Determine eligibility for the aid;

(B) Determine the amount of the aid;

(C) Determine the conditions for the aid; or

(D) Enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.

(ii) As used in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section, financial aid means a payment of funds provided to an individual (or a payment in kind of tangible or intangible property to the individual) that is conditioned on the individual’s attendance at an educational agency or institution.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1232g(b)(1)(D) )

(5) (i) The disclosure is to State and local officials or authorities to whom this information is specifically—

(A) Allowed to be reported or disclosed pursuant to State statute adopted before November 19, 1974, if the allowed reporting or disclosure concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve the student whose records are released; or

(B) Allowed to be reported or disclosed pursuant to State statute adopted after November 19, 1974, subject to the requirements of § 99.38.

(ii) Paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section does not prevent a State from further limiting the number or type of State or local officials to whom disclosures may be made under that paragraph.

(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.

(ii) An educational agency or institution may disclose information under paragraph (a)(6)(i) of this section only if—

(A) The study is conducted in a manner that does not permit personal identification of parents and students by individuals other than representatives of the organization that have legitimate interests in the information;

(B) The information is destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which the study was conducted; and

(C) The educational agency or institution enters into a written agreement with the organization that—

(1) Specifies the purpose, scope, and duration of the study or studies and the information to be disclosed;

(2) Requires the organization to use personally identifiable information from education records only to meet the purpose or purposes of the study as stated in the written agreement;

(3) Requires the organization to conduct the study in a manner that does not permit personal identification of parents and students, as defined in this part, by anyone other than representatives of the organization with legitimate interests;

and

(4) Requires the organization to destroy or return to the educational agency or institution all personally identifiable information when the information is no longer needed for the purposes for which the study was conducted and specifies the time period in which the information must be returned or destroyed.

(iii) An educational agency or institution is not required to initiate a study or agree with or endorse the conclusions or results of the study.

(iv) If this Office determines that a third party outside the educational agency or institution to whom information is disclosed under this paragraph (a)(6) violates paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(B) of this section, the educational agency or institution may not allow that third party access to personally identifiable information from education records for at least five years.

(v) For the purposes of paragraph (a)(6) of this section, the term organization includes, but is not limited to, Federal, State, and local agencies, and independent organizations.

(7) The disclosure is to accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.

(8) The disclosure is to parents, as defined in § 99.3, of a dependent student, as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(9) (i) The disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.

(ii) The educational agency or institution may disclose information under paragraph (a)(9)(i) of this section only if the agency or institution makes a reasonable effort to notify the parent or eligible student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance, so that the parent or eligible student may seek protective action, unless the disclosure is in compliance with—

(A) A Federal grand jury subpoena and the court has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed;

(B) Any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose and the court or other issuing agency has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed; or

(C) An ex parte court order obtained by the United States Attorney General (or designee not lower than an Assistant Attorney General) concerning investigations or prosecutions of an offense listed in 18 U.S.C. 2332b(g)(5)(B) or an act of domestic or international terrorism as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2331.

(iii) (A) If an educational agency or institution initiates legal action against a parent or student, the educational agency or institution may disclose to the court, without a court order or subpoena, the education records of the student that are relevant for the educational agency or institution to proceed with the legal action as plaintiff.

(B) If a parent or eligible student initiates legal action against an educational agency or institution, the educational agency or institution may disclose to the court, without a court order or subpoena, the student’s education records that are relevant for the educational agency or institution to defend itself.

(10) The disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency, under the conditions described in § 99.36.

(11) The disclosure is information the educational agency or institution has designated as “directory information”, under the conditions described in § 99.37.

(12) The disclosure is to the parent of a student who is not an eligible student or to the student.

(13) The disclosure, subject to the requirements in § 99.39, is to a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution of postsecondary education with respect to that alleged crime or offense. The institution may disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed.

(14) (i) The disclosure, subject to the requirements in § 99.39, is in connection with a disciplinary proceeding at an institution of postsecondary education. The institution must not disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding unless it determines that—

(A) The student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense; and

(B) With respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.

(ii) The institution may not disclose the name of any other student, including a victim or witness, without the prior written consent of the other student.

(iii) This section applies only to disciplinary proceedings in which the final results were reached on or after October 7, 1998.

(15) (i) The disclosure is to a parent of a student at an institution of postsecondary education regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if—

(A) The institution determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession; and

(B) The student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent.

(ii) Paragraph (a)(15) of this section does not supersede any provision of State law that prohibits an institution of postsecondary education from disclosing information.

(16) The disclosure concerns sex offenders and other individuals required to register under section 170101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. 14071, and the information was provided to the educational agency or institution under 42 U.S.C. 14071 and applicable Federal guidelines.

(b) (1) De-identified records and information. An educational agency or institution, or a party that has received education records or information from education records under this part, may release the records or information without the consent required by § 99.30 after the removal of all personally identifiable information provided that the educational agency or institution or other party has made a reasonable determination that a student’s identity is not personally identifiable, whether through single or multiple releases, and taking into account other reasonably available information.

(2) An educational agency or institution, or a party that has received education records or information from education records under this part, may release de-identified student level data from education records for the purpose of education research by attaching a code to each record that may allow the recipient to match information received from the same source, provided that—

(i) An educational agency or institution or other party that releases de-identified data under paragraph (b)(2) of this section does not disclose any information about how it generates and assigns a record code, or that would allow a recipient to identify a student based on a record code;

(ii) The record code is used for no purpose other than identifying a de-identified record for purposes of education research and cannot be used to ascertain personally identifiable information about a student; and

(iii) The record code is not based on a student’s social security number or other personal information.

(c) An educational agency or institution must use reasonable methods to identify and authenticate the identity of parents, students, school officials, and any other parties to whom the agency or institution discloses personally identifiable information from education records.

(d) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section do not require an educational agency or institution or any other party to disclose education records or information from education records to any party except for parties under paragraph (a)(12) of this section.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1232g(a)(5)(A) , (b), (h), (i), and (j)).

[53 FR 11943, Apr. 11, 1988; 53 FR 19368, May 27, 1988, as amended at 58 FR 3189, Jan. 7, 1993; 61 FR 59296, Nov. 21, 1996; 65 FR 41853, July 6, 2000; 73 FR 74852, Dec, 9, 2008; 74 FR 401, Jan. 6, 2009]

§ 99.33

What limitations apply to the redisclosure of information?

(a) (1) An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record only on the condition that the party to whom the information is disclosed will not disclose the information to any other party without the prior consent of the parent or eligible student.

(2) The officers, employees, and agents of a party that receives information under paragraph (a)(1) of this section may use the information, but only for the purposes for which the disclosure was made.

(b) (1) Paragraph (a) of this section does not prevent an educational agency or institution from disclosing personally identifiable information with the understanding that the party receiving the information may make further disclosures of the information on behalf of the educational agency or institution if—

(i) The disclosures meet the requirements of § 99.31; and

(ii) (A) The educational agency or institution has complied with the requirements of § 99.32(b); or

(B) A State or local educational authority or Federal official or agency listed in § 99.31(a)(3) has complied with the requirements of § 99.32(b)(2).

(2) A party that receives a court order or lawfully issued subpoena and rediscloses personally identifiable information from education records on behalf of an educational agency or institution in response to that order or subpoena under § 99.31(a)(9) must provide the notification required under § 99.31(a)(9)(ii).

(c) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to disclosures under §§ 99.31(a)(8), (9), (11), (12), (14), (15), and (16), and to information that postsecondary institutions are required to disclose under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f) (Clery Act), to the accuser and accused regarding the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sexual offense.

(d) An educational agency or institution must inform a party to whom disclosure is made of the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section except for disclosures made under §§ 99.31(a)(8), (9), (11), (12), (14), (15), and (16), and to information that postsecondary institutions are required to disclose under the Clery Act to the accuser and accused regarding the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sexual offense.

(e) If this Office determines that a third party outside the educational agency or institution improperly rediscloses personally identifiable information from education records in violation of this section, or fails to provide the notification required under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the educational agency or institution may not allow that third party access to personally identifiable information from education records for at least five years.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1232g(b)(4)(B) )

[53 FR 11943, Apr. 11, 1988, as amended at 61 FR 59297, Nov. 21, 1996; 65 FR 41853, July 6, 2000; 73 FR 74853, Dec. 9, 2008]

*9        From a meeting at the USOE on April 12, 2013 between Dr. Martel Menlove the State Superintendent, other state employees and myself and Dr. Gary Thompson, PsyD.

*10      The Examiner,  April 13, 2013,   Opinion/Editorial:

Education Dept. helps leak students’ personal data March 21, 2013

*11      Ibid.

*12      Published on American Civil Liberties Union (http://www.aclu.org)

Source URL: http://www.aclu.org/free-speech-technology-and-liberty-womens-rights/newborn-dna-banking

*13      Becca Aaronson December 8, 2010, republished  03/14/13  “LawsuitAlleges DSHS Sold Baby DNA Samples”  | TheTexas Tribune www.texastribune.org/texas-state-agencies/department-of-state-health-services/lawsuit-alleges-dshs-sold-baby-dna-samples/ 2/3

*14      Ibid.

*15      Source:  http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/pageDocuments/PG6T8WPI4A.pdf

*16      http://www.naturalnews.com/035684_DNA_samples_police_students.html

*17      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/27/dna-database-children-criminal-record

*18      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/2565016/Profiles-of-40000-innocent-children-on-DNA-database.html

*19      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/mar/16/youthjustice.children

6 thoughts on “Dr. Thompson’s letter to Superintendent Menlove”

    1. Karen, I got Attorney Flint’s footnotes and have posted them in the bottom of the article now. They are as long as his letter. :)

  1. It appears to me that the U.S. Government wants the ability to ‘label’ any and every child as some sort of permanantly afflicted disabled victim so as to control their lives starting at a very young age. They don’t even see the incredible plasticity of the mind and psyche of a young child, that these children are going to school for a reason, that reason being to shape those little minds into the shape of something better than the adults that are shaping them could ever hope to acheive.
    Pigeonholing a child is a form of imprisonment.
    I am ashamed of the depth of depravity of our ‘educational system’.
    Home schooling is morally superior than any public education system in existance.
    These insideous ‘professionals’ have become the main the reason why.

  2. DNA and Behavior may be concerns but what about the assessment data being used by the Federal Government to determine what career or major they approve and will grant loans for. It is blatantly obvious to me that the real goal of Common Core is to empower the Federal Government to micro manage its assets (our children). A perfect example of where this scenario is in place is Germany. Children as early as 4th grade are steered into a path the government deems appropriate based on the data they have on the individual. Government is infringing on our God Given and Constitutional Right to pursue happiness which is also understood as the right to pursue a career and path of ones own choice. If Einstein had been to school under Common Core Standards and Curriculum he would not of been allowed to pursue what he became a genius at since he was failing math a one point in his education. This is so wrong on so many levels….!

  3. Adaptive testing in general can sound like a good thing. My daughter was with a wonderful online charter school which required her to take CATs for language skills and math. If consistently got the answers correct, the test would get progressively more difficult. And it would go on an on and on. It was the test that would not end. The school told us that it usually only took half an hour, but if it’s more than an hour, she should take breaks. It took 4 days to get through the math section. My daughter felt like answering the wrong questions just so she could be done. So it can have a negative effect in that way. The school required her to take the tests at the beginning, middle, and end of the year, immediately following the CRTs. That was overkill, but I think the online charter school was desperate to prove that it was a good school and that the students were learning. Online charter schools are accused of being publicly dmfunded home school by teachers’ unions and other nemeses of choice in education.

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