Minnesota Teachers Reassure on Opt Outs!


Minnesota Teachers Reassure on Opt Outs!

By:  JMLmom

We hear stories about parents having trouble when it comes to opting their children out of testing.  I’d like to share a story of cooperation and understanding regarding a parent’s choice to opt out of testing, surveys as well as homework assignments outside the scope of our family values.

Yesterday, I got a letter from a parent in a Minnesota school district and I have to say that it was so deeply encouraging and uplifting. This parent asked us not to disclose her name or the school district, so we will not disclose that information. However, the information that we want to share is that teachers are being supportive and thankful for parents who opt out their children.

At my oldest child’s parent-teacher conference, I spoke with her English teacher about opting my child out of these tests. Her teacher said he is frustrated because he isn’t able to teach the way he feels the children need. You have to move through everything so fast, some children are left behind. He said he is very frustrated and feels that this testing is a waste of time and money. The teachers I have talked to about this feel the same way, but their hands are tied.

When I submitted my opt out letters on behalf of my children, I was nervous how the letters would be received. I soon received my answer. One of the teachers sent me this letter:

Dear xxxx,

In my opinion, the letter you submitted regarding testing is outstanding! Thank you for sending it and thank you for your constructive words about your reasons.

I will file this with the testing coordinator this week, and I will keep a copy in my file in case any concerns arise.


M Teacher

And then another message from another teacher,

Thanks so much for the eloquently written letter you sent on behalf of “X” opting out of testing. Nicely stated.


K Teacher

Each of the teachers were very supportive.   It was great to see us all come together and agree on something so important. Just knowing that my children’s teachers are supportive of my choice, makes me feel more at ease. My advice to everyone would be to have this conversation with your children’s teachers. Let them know that your decision has no reflection on them as a teacher but is more so about your child and the over the continuous testing mandates.

For more information about Opting Out, see our tab “Refuse the Tests” at http://www.MNagainstCC.com or on our facebook page, Minnesota Against Common Core and Refuse the Tests.

College Students Question the “Safety” of SafeConnect

SafeConnect 0

College Students Question the “Safety” of SafeConnect

SafeConnect, owned by Impulse Point, LLC is a university network system utilized across the nation and in Minnesota.  In order for students to connect to the internet while on campus, students log on to the SafeConnect system.   So what’s the problem?

In working with SafeConnect, students are reporting that the system gives full administrative control over a student’s personal computer to software developed by a company called Impulse Point.  This means that Impulse Point, if prompted by government, could covertly and remotely turn on a student’s webcam, access all documents and files on a student’s computer, and modify or delete any piece of information on the student’s computer.  Although Impulse Point claims not to be used for these purposes, the fact that it has the capability to take these actions should be concerning, particularly in light of published Snowden documents.

Impulse Point runs additional programs like Identity Connect.  http://www.impulse.com/identityconnect/  Impulse Point appears as a “TierOne Partner” with VistaOne.  https://www.vistaone.com/amx/impulse-point-safeconnect/  VistaOne has a number of partner companies including Riverbed, Palo Alto, Procera,  and Synergy.  https://www.vistaone.com/amx/tierone-partners/

Students and professors across the US are beginning to look into programs, such as Cisco Clean Access, SafeConnect and others.   These companies are employed by universities to satisfy the legislative mandates of securing a private network for their college.

In 2004, all universities in the United States were required to maintain a private Internet network under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.   Additionally, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 set forth guidelines making it necessary for all schools to “combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials via illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property,” as a condition of obtaining Federal Pell Grants for students and participating in other federal financial aid programs.  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html

To understand the scope of colleges and universities using SafeConnect within the last three years, the following schools came up on a simple search within that time frame:  Inver Grove Heights Community College, MN; Augsburg College, Minneapolis; Coastal California University, Yeshiva University, NYC; Sacramento State; University of New Haven; University of Nebraska-Lincoln, La Salle University, University of California – San Diego and Santa Cruz; University of Missouri – Kansas City; Presbyterian College, SC; University of North Florida, American University, Georgetown University, University of North Dakota, and Boston University are using SafeConnect to secure private network and fulfill legislative mandates.  No doubt there are many other colleges who employ SafeConnect.

According to the SafeConnect site, “SafeConnect acts as a gatekeeper to the university’s Internet network.  Any user who tries to access the New School network must first pass a security check — a log-in page asking for the user’s New School ID.   Network access controls allow large networks that serve many users and devices to set rules about who can and cannot log on. Before SafeConnect green-lights a user onto the information super-highway, the program runs a check to see if his or her device has installed current anti-virus software or up-to-date security patches.”

The New School Network, New York City.  http://www.newschool.edu/information-technology/wireless-network/

Recently, students at Augsburg College in Minneapolis authored a petition against SafeConnect, a university internet network system utilized in universities across the nation and in Minnesota.

SafeConnect Petition

Students of Augsburg Against SafeConnect  state that SafeConnect is a program that runs at full administrative privileges, under the SYSTEM account, meaning it can do anything the operating system can do.  Students and faculty have signed the petition.

SafeConnect 1

SafeConnect 2

SafeConnect 3

SafeConnect 4In In In       “Safe”Connect Part II:  We’ll take a look a closer look at how the program actually works and remotely takes over one’s computer.

SafeConnect appears to be a program designed for covert remote access to a student’s personal computer.  Should universities and colleges be able to install spyware/remote access tools on a student’s personal computer?   Students have a right to privacy regarding their own personal property and particularly in a university setting where many students live on campus.  
Students, Take Note!


MACC Halloween Special: Creepy Facial-Tracking Cameras in Fridley Schools

Data-tracking-devices US DOEMACC Halloween Special:  Creepy Facial-Tracking Cameras in Fridley Schools

NOTE:  Like testing and surveys, parents may opt their children out of biometrics, which is just another scheme to collect data on our children.

MACC was recently contacted with creepster reports of newly mounted cameras attached to student computers in Fridley Schools. According to the reports, the cameras are always running and are pointed at the student’s face.  There are no “on” or “off” switches.   Parents were never disclosed that biometrics would be used in the children’s classroom.   These tracking cameras pose a serious violation of a parent’s trust in administrative decisions.

When questioned about the facial cameras,  a Fridley Schools’ principal stated, “This data or private info isn’t sent anywhere, but a hacker could get the information.   The cameras aren’t even turned on.”  However, students are reporting that the cameras are “on” all the time.

MACC has recently written about the trail of data emanating from student ipads/chrome books and yet, school leaders seem to be unaware of data sharing with government and business entities.

The principal brought an example of a Chrome Book with a camera set into the monitor, positioned toward the student.  He stated, “If the student wants to cover the camera they can.”

One might inquire as to what these cameras are being used for?  Perhaps Fridley Schools will explain just what the purpose is for these cameras and why parents were never told!  MACC has a few ideas since the federal DOE published a document on how to use facial cameras two years ago.

Fridley School Camera

Photo from Fridley Schools.  Facial-tracking camera mounted on computer.

According the United States Department of Education, these mounted cameras are to collect data measures on a student’s facial expression.   These cameras are officially known as biometrics and are meant to measure a child’s determination,  mood, comfort with a subject, attitude, determination and more.

The US Department of Education wants to shift educational priorities toward the psychoanalysis of students as well as collecting their content knowledge.   This is the non-cognitive area where a student’s personality or values is studied.  We might call this “what makes a person tick”.

The Department compiled a document with the help of numerous authors entitled,  Promoting Grit, Tenancity and Perseverance, in 2013. The Wayang Outpost photo is found on pg. 62 and at the top of this article.  Other methods of obtaining non-cognitive or affective data is also included.   The document states that,  “Persistence is now part of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics”.

The Wayang Outpost includes four sensor systems – one measures blood volume, pulse and galvanic skin response to examine student frustration in an online learning environment.  This technique has been used by Mcquiggan, Lee and Lester (2007) using data mining techniques as well as physiological response data.   “Sensors provide constant, parallel streams of data and are used with data mining techniques and self-report measures to examine frustration, motivation/flow, confidence, boredom, and fatigue”,  according to the document.

Read the document for yourselves.  Then call Fridley Schools, tell them to stop treating our next generation like guinea pigs and insist that these cameras be removed!

Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance:  Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century


Call or Email Fridley Schools.

Fridley Schools School Board Message Line:  School Board Message Line: 763 502-5060

6000 West Moore Lake Drive | Fridley, MN 55432
Tel: 763-502-5000

White House Announces Transition to Openly Licensed Education Resources for Schools

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White House Announces Transition to Openly Licensed Education Resources for Schools
 The White House announces the Federal Government is to *begin to model the transition to openly licensed educational materials at scale in U.S. K-12 schools. We look forward to engaging with the national and global community to identify opportunities for open licensing to accelerate educational equity for all learners regardless of their financial situations or geographic locations.* This is aligned to Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Is this the move toward a national and/or international curriculum?  What could go wrong?
Reposted from Missouri Education Watchdog

Openly Licensed Educational Resources: Providing Equitable Access to Education for All Learners

by Gretchen Logue

Summary:  The Federal government is supporting the use of open educational resources to provide equitable access to quality education.

Everyone has the right to education…Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. —Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Access to quality education is an essential component of addressing many of our biggest global and societal challenges. Last year, the United Nations surveyed youth around the world about their priorities—what opportunities they want to be offered. More than improvements in electricity and infrastructure, healthcare, and better jobs, what young people asked for was a good education. It’s no surprise that young people value education. World Bank economists estimate that for every year of study, individual income increases by 10-15 percent. These increases don’t just affect individuals; they often generate a “ripple effect” of benefits to families and entire communities. Openly licensed learning resources, also known as open educational resources (OER), can increase access to high-quality education opportunities and reduce the cost of education around the world.

On September 28, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of State co-hosted an International Open Education Workshop, bringing together 40 civil society and foreign government participants from eight countries to examine existing open education efforts and identify opportunities for future collaboration between government and civil society. This workshop is one of several open education commitments made as part of the second U.S. Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

At the workshop, participants shared examples of ways that openly licensed educational materials are being used to solve local education challenges around the world. For example, one participant shared open-source tools that enable offline access to openly licensed educational videos — technology that has supported education for Syrian refugees, inmates in U.S. correctional facilities, and over 2 million other learners from around the world. Open licenses grant anyone the rights to revise, remix, and redistribute these educational materials, so investments in content or tools made by one organization or government can be leveraged by other institutions and used in new ways.

Another participant, drawing on her recent experience serving as a Foreign Service Officer in the Balkans, noted the potential for openly licensed educational materials to honor local knowledge and information needs. In particular, she described how an open-source model could empower educators to collaborate on and adapt textbooks across local and international borders, retaining fundamental content while tailoring certain features, like names in math word problems, to reflect students’ ethnic diversity and culture.  Empowering local communities to adapt, translate, and create collections of learning materials that meet their information, learning, or language needs helps side-step assumptions and honor learners’ lived experiences.

Open education advances key national priorities, including supporting shared economic prosperity, strengthening civil society, and investing in human development. Over the next year, the U.S. Government will continue efforts to expand and accelerate the use and availability of openly licensed educational materials worldwide. In addition, we will begin to model the transition to openly licensed educational materials at scale in U.S. K-12 schools.  We look forward to engaging with the national and global community to identify opportunities for open licensing to accelerate educational equity for all learners regardless of their financial situations or geographic locations.

Richard Culatta is Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

Sunshine Ison is Director of the ECA Collaboratory at the U.S. Department of State.

Nancy Weiss is Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Keeping you informed on CCSS in Minnesota


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