Tag Archives: Database

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.

 

 

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 http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf  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 http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary

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
801-538-7953

john.brandt@schools.utah.gov

 

To reference the above, here’s Utah’s report to the national data collectors: http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/stateanalysis/states/UT/

Here’s Utah being praised by the national data collectors: http://secc.sedl.org/orc/rr/secc_rr_00088.pdf  (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.  http://youtu.be/z1pwUSlqerg.)

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

Teacher