Senate Passes Every Child Achieves Act: Senate and House Convenes to “Marry” Bills

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MACC is disappointed to announce that Senate Bill 1777 – Every Child Achieves Act – has passed in the Senate, 81 – 17.  This new version of No Child Left Behind, the Senate version of the ESEA – Elementary and Secondary Education Act, sets the tone and mandates for education in the Country.  While both parties had the opportunity to return educational control to states, both houses of Congress have chosen to pass their versions of the ESEA rewrite.

Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) goes a long way in continuing the policies of No Child Left Behind under George W. Bush and does not come close to “fixing” this law.   ECAA contains the very same federal Common Core aligned testing mandates that have beleaguered children and teachers for 14 years.  This mandate requires 95 percent of students take the tests which may encourage schools to disallow parents to opt out.  And yet this is a parent’s right to guide their child’s education.  (Section 1111)  Measurements of accountability must be reported to the federal Dept of Education and with compliance in order to continue receiving Federal funds.

Psychological profiling will be used for our youngest citizens, birth through five.  Babies must be College and Career Ready!  This is both a health and medical system of accountability. Will teachers be stepping in for psychologists?  Will administrators diagnose based on psychological health profiles?  Psychologists and neuropsychologists study for years to learn about the delicate nature of the psyche.   Federal definitions in mental health will be promoted as well as significant testing in the schools.  (Section 4104)  ECAA expands data collection via disaggregated information, ie. personally identifiable information.

The ECAA continues and expands its over reach into the total redesign of cities and towns through far-reaching systems of accountability.  Community Learning Centers and Promise Neighborhoods are expanded under this version of No Child Left Behind.  (Section 4201) The legislation places government as the center of the community not families or faith-based entities.  These Centers will keep children busy 6 – 7 days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day and all year.  “School becomes the Center of the Community,” as Arne Duncan is quoted in his infamous Charlie Rose interview. https://youtu.be/TLQNFnUhWhw

Minnesota is left with this master-serf relationship between the federal and state government.  First and foremost, ECAA is unconstitutional.  At one point in testimony yesterday, Sen Alexander stated that a particular amendment was “unconstitutional”.  The fact is, the whole bill is unconstitutional.  The bill declares, “The state shall submit” and “The Secretary [Fed DOE] shall have power to disapprove a state plan” (Sec. 1111)   “If a State makes significant changes to its plan at any time…such information shall be submitted to the Secretary”.  (Section 1111)   There may be consequences for non-compliance.  Parenthetically, Minnesota need only be a “serf” if she chooses to be!

Although the ECAA claims to give local control back to states and schools, it does not and gathers more federal power unto itself.  MACC is troubled by the language of these bills, and the additional challenges the bills put on parents, teachers and local school districts in deciding the best for their children’s education.  MACC feels that this federal takeover of education is in violation of the 10th Amendment, which mandates the right and ability of states to control their own destiny and, in fact, is in total violation of the Constitution.

If your Congressmen voted as you indicated, please call or write to thank them.  However, if they did not vote for you, as your constituent representative, call and write your displeasure.   Pull out portions of legislation right before them or by email.  If this law passes, America will be stuck with No Child Left Behind all over again and for another seven years.

The process continues as the Senate and House will convene to “marry” the two bills, S. 1177 and HR 5, culminating with a vote of the entire Congress on the newly combined bill.  MACC will be following this process.  We still have much that we can do as citizens!  Don’t allow wealthy lobbyists, like the NGA (National Governors Association), the CCSSO (Chief Council of State School Officers), AFT (American Federation of Teachers) and NEA (National Education Association) to take your voice away.  Remind your Congressmen who voted them in and who will vote them out. Know the legislation better than they do.  Most have never read these new bills, nor have they read the earlier versions.  Talk to your US representatives and senators NOW.  Tell them to vote “NO” on the ESEA.  Then contact your Minnesota representative and senator and let them know that we do not want this No Child Left Behind rewrite in Minnesota.  The last decision will be up to our legislature as they are asked to approve the ESEA on behalf of Minnesotans.  We’re not giving up!!!

Evil Will Prevail if we allow “Every Child Achieves Act” (S1177)

9 July, 2015

Evil will prevail if we allow “Every Child Achieves Act” (S1177)

By: Anne Taylor

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot going on in the world:  Most notably, Greece is about to lose it.  The NYSE experienced a “glitch” that suspended trading (call it a hack because no one else is willing to admit to it – maybe the power grid is overloaded – or is it?), the Wall Street Journal’s website went down following the NYSE “glitch”, United Airlines was grounded due to a faulty computer system and thousands “mysteriously” lose power in Washington D.C.

Did I mention that HR5 passed in the House, too?  There has been little, if any attention to these bills and their ramifications that will only allow evil to prevail in our American schools.  Our friends in Utah’s Common Core state group agree.  In fact, I can’t help but agree!  This is because there simply is no other word to describe it.

Below are 6 headline highlights from the article written by Utah’s state group, Common Core:  Education Without Representation, “Six Evil Things Hidden in S.1177 — “No Child Left Behind”.  You may read the full article and their extensive research here.

If this doesn’t raise the red flag alert, then I am concerned for our children’s future and this country.  The following IS NOT what the media is talking about regarding S1177:

  1. The bill aims to kill parental rights in the parental opt-out movement. “Taking away a parent’s authority over his or her own child is a crime that the Fed Ed is willing to try to get away with.  This bill says that states must not only give federally aligned common core tests (they use the code term “college and career ready” which is Common Core) but must collect data from 95 percent of the students.  That aims to kill our huge, growing parents’ opt out movement.  The bill says, “Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students”. (1111)”
  2. The bill’s master-servant relationship between Fed Ed and State Ed is unconstitutional. “It’s clearly, clearly unconstitutional.  States are supposed to be in charge of their own educational systems.  But in this bill, read: “The state shall submit,” and “The Secretary [Fed Ed] shall have power to disapprove a state plan” (Sec. 1111)   “If a State makes significant changes to its plan at any time…such information shall be submitted to the Secretary”.  That just gives the Fed Ed Secretary power to disapprove a state’s decision to drop Common Core.  (Sec. 1111)”

“Cementing Common Core is not what the authors of S.1177 said were the goals of the bill, yet there it is.  Putting parents last, and making states do the dirty work for the false authorities at the Department of Education, is a deceptive way of getting people to think that there’s less federal involvement, a misleading attempt to get conservative people to pass this bill.”

  1. The bill will suppress student expression of religious and political values. “…repeated use of the concept and term “school climate” –for example, in conditional “formula grants”.  These give the federal government power to model citizenship, to influence what is a federally appropriate world-view, and to pressure schools to suppress student expression of religious values, using each state as enforcer.  (Sec. 4103-4104).  The bill says that money will be conditionally given and that data gathered by the school will determine whether a student holds appropriate beliefs in the “school climate”.  This will allow absolute federal indoctrination in local schools. If family values don’t match Fed Ed values, there will be federally-directed school-based re-education.”

These include “…asking for collection of “school-level data on indicators or measures of school quality, climate and safety, and discipline, including those described in section 1111(d)(1)(C)(v); and risk factors in the community, school, family, or peer-individual domains that are known, through prospective, longitudinal research efforts, to be predictive of drug use, violent behavior, harassment, disciplinary issues, and having an effect on the physical and mental health and well-being of youth in the school and community.”

“That pressures schools to conform to federal definitions of mental health, and forces schools to collect longitudinal data to build and analyze children’s psychological profiles.   Schools wanting federal money must intervene if a student’s “mental health” or potential access to “violence” needs “mentoring”. (…by whose definition?)”

*I’ll add that if you’re uncertain what this means, read the “school climate” survey found in the Orono school district I reported on earlier this spring.

“The bill says:  “may include, among other programs and activities— drug and violence prevention activities and programs, including professional development and training for school and specialized instructional support personnel and interested community members in prevention, education, early identification, and intervention mentoring, and, where appropriate, rehabilitation referral, as related to drug and violence prevention… extended learning opportunities, including before and after school programs and activities, programs during summer recess periods, and expanded learning time…  school-based mental health services, including early identification of mental-health symptoms…  and appropriate referrals to direct individual or group counseling services” (4105)”

  1. The bill sees government, not families, at the center of the universe– for younger and younger people, for more and more of the time. “It allots money to fulfill Sec. Duncan’s “21st –century community learning centers” (Sec. 4201)  …this bill consumes more family time, giving so much time to government schools.   The “community creep” of Fed Ed schools expands in multiple ways if S.1177 passes.  The Fed Ed Secretary will pay “programs that support extended learning opportunities, including before and after school programs and activities, programs during summer recess periods, and expanded learning time; in accordance with subsections (c) and (d), school-based mental health services, including early identification of mental-health symptoms” — which means more government surveillance of belief and behavior, via more time spent with Fed Ed, and less time spent with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa.”

Notice “…that “and community” is attached after the word “school” repeatedly.  School and community.  School and community.  School and Community.  Why?  What business does the school have, expanding its creep into the community?  Yet that’s exactly what Secretary Duncan has been calling for, for years.  (See the old Charlie Rose interview on Youtube here, where Duncan asks for 6-7 day a week school, extremely long days, all year round, with school replacing home or church as community center.)”

  1. The bill promotes federal definitions of mental health and promotes collection of mental health data.                                           The bill will assume “…that fed ed defines mental health correctly, and for everyone…(promoting) even more data mining than we already have inflicted upon our children.”

“The local educational agency or consortium… shall take into account… school-level data on…   family… predictive of … mental health and well-being of youth in the school and community.” (See 4104)”

“Under a host of other issues identified as federally-politically-correct, your family teachings may not be compliant with federal definitions of mental “well-being” of youth.”  Government, not families, are at the center of the universe when school data is gathered on children without parental consent, used to judge families’ and students’ psychological, religious or belief-based attitudes.”

  1. Toddler Snatching. “I don’t like that the bill puts it hands on preschoolers.”  *(I don’t like it either being that I have a toddler as well!)  “It bullies preschools, too, by mandating federal preschool standards to be enforced by states, as it encourages states to take over toddler time from moms and dads.  I don’t like the time-away-from-family aim nor the data mining aim (without consent of parents, of course). Preschool babies are to be psychologically profiled by the state.  The bill does not state this plainly. You have to connect the dots:  the word “preschool” shows up 43 times in the bill.  Statewide preschool standards align with federal standards, creating nationalization of measurement of citizen babies; federal standards are heavily socio-emotional; it all results in the compilation of psychological data on very young children.  We already had the Dept. of Ed and its partners co-creating Common Educational Data Standards (CEDS) the better to align everyone with, without voter input, and these folks wave banners with their motto (fourth principle): “Continued Commitment to Disaggregation“  of students’ personal data.   Your specific, individual child is wanted in their clutches.  That’s what disaggregation means:  not in a clump; individual.”

Now, will someone tell me there isn’t an elephant in Washington?

Take these highlights – all of them – any one of them at this point!  It’s time to kill this bill!

Continue to call, write and tweet your senators.  WE CANNOT DO THIS ALONE.

MACC ALERT! Contact US Senator/Rep Immediately!

ALERT! WE HAVE VOTE CONFIRMATION LATE TONIGHT ON HR 5 + S 1117 + S 622.  IMMEDIATELY call or your US Senator/Rep.

ALL THREE (3) BILLS GO UP FOR VOTES WED, JULY 8th! S 1117 (US Senate ESEA) could go in the morning; HR 5 (US House ESEA) is scheduled for 1:30pm. S 622 (US Senate Removal of Parental Rights) IMMEDIATELY call your US Rep and US Senators and tell them to vote NO on Senate 1117, Senate 622 and House 5!!!

You can leave messages tonight or even in the morning before their offices open. Close down their phones! No one else can do it but you. These are seriously dangerous bills. Make the call; Send the email; and then call everyone you can in the morning to take similar actions.

ACT: The Power to Collect and Share Data without Permission While Predicting Your Child’s Destiny

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Summer Parade of Minnesota Surveys 2015

ACT:  The Power to Collect and Share Data without Permission While Predicting Your Child’s Destiny

By:  Anne Taylor

Not long ago someone shared with me ACT’s data practices policy guidelines.  The original PDF document was readily found on-line, until recent.   I’d written a piece on it several months ago, set it aside and now here it is again.  What I can tell you is this:  Forget the weasel clause in sifting out where your child’s information may go.  ACT’s document was so blatant in its disclosure of data collection that you wouldn’t need to bother understanding FERPA.

Initially, I read ACT’s data policy booklet front to back – a mere 21 pages.  On the very last page, in the very last sentence it stated, “We release individually identifiable information according to the policies described in this booklet.”

I began reading the policy booklet from the back of the pages and up.  What are these plans, systems and guidelines?  What divine code can be cracked by reading this backwards?  Yes, I read the policy backwards.  I’ll spare you details from the previous article and instead share with you the following important headlines that jumped out of the document:

“Student recruitment & employment”

“Educational & Psychological Testing”

“Execute research studies necessary for proper use of programs”

“Routinely collect information”

“Must have policies in place to protect data from unauthorized disclosure”

“May share personally identifiable info with in family of companies”

“chief state school officer”

The last passage points to a major red flag as the CSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) is responsible for the creation and implementation of Common Core in our schools, and, who worked in tandem with the National Governors Association (NGA).  The NGA was also a key player when the standards were developed in 2009.  In recent years, the NGA refused to take a position on Common Core after having received heavy backlash for their involvement.

Contained within ACT’s original data document, further disclosure on CSSO was noted in the following statement:  “Institutional summary data on examinees in public high schools in a state are released to the chief state school officer.  We offer consultation assistance to the state department of education on appropriate interpretation of such data.” Also, “The release of aggregate data to each state and the national media is timed to provide notice to state officials.”

This statement alone clearly supports ACT’s involvement with CSSO and its stakeholders along with how student data is shared within the company.

Last week, examiner.com released an article on upcoming changes made to ACT regarding the optional writing test, while adding “two new hybrid scores in English Language Arts (ELA) and Science, Technology, Engineering or Science and Math (STEM).”  The scores will now essentially be based off the combined “hybrid” results.  With this, ACT has created a system for actually projecting the likelihood of student achievement in a particular education field, degree or vocation solely based on the new calculation.  They can even tell your child what colleges and universities are best suited for them based off other “voluntary” information asked of them during registration.

But how many students understand that the additional information asked of them is even voluntary?  Note that while students can choose whether or not to disclose information such as GPA or grades in certain classes, they are warned “The information you give may be verified by college personnel.” 

One can clearly see more red flags on the horizon with this new kind of “hybrid” scoring:  (1) Marketing success of a human capitol based on POTENTIAL success.  (2) College admissions could actually choose to deny the student another major based on data results.

And the best yet:  These so called “chances of success” are not even seen on the student report.  Why?  Because according to ACT “the college owns the information.”

This is the concern with early college and career placement within ACT’s Explore test starting in 8th grade.  Because high school is now focused all on college and career, students are asked to divulge a good deal of information following ACT’s Explore test that concludes with a 72 page inventory of additional “likes” and “dislikes” questionnaire.

According to sources, inventory questions include more than just the students’ zip code:  Mother/Father (or guardians) highest level of education, languages spoken, high school coursework and future plans after high school.

Students are told to answer as many “likes” or “dislikes” on the inventory questionnaire and strongly encouraged NOT to check if they were “indifferent” on a subject matter.  Some are simple such as studying the sciences like Biology or finding calculating errors, while others asked if the student liked to sort books, watch a forest fire, or if they like to tell jokes.

The results will lead students to their destiny of career path placement in high school under the guise of their guidance counselor of which parents are most likely NOT part of.

ACT stands for American College Testing and began in 1959 with the mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success.  This is what we have all been led to believe, but with data now at our fingertips and years of analysis, have we truly come to recognize this is the new age not unlike the book and most recent, the movie “The Giver.”  One only has to insert the workforce initiative.

Even with wholehearted intentions, this purely all comes down to workforce.  Simply put, this is what ACT and its stakeholders are truly doing to our children:  Pigeonholing them into research projects for profit, not much unlike the German pedagogical model of education that continues to exist today.

This brings to mind:  Have parents considered what THEIR policy is when it comes to their child’s private data being collected and exposed through their school, via the testing system? Did you, as a parent or legal guardian, receive a data practices policy disclosure prior to your child taking the ACT?  Did you know that some schools are requiring ACT testing as early as Kindergarten?

This year Minnesota removed the required mandate by statute that once required students to take the ACT in order to graduate from high school.  Previously, in order to graduate in the state of Minnesota, students were required to take the ACT (passing or not) in order to receive their high school diploma – regardless of whether or not they were attending college.

Passed this year in the Omnibus K-12 Education Finance Bill, the Minnesota Department of Education released in a statement that The Career and College Assessments for grades 8 and 10 (ACT Explore and Plan) and the college placement diagnostic exam (ACT Compass) was eliminated and that the department will no longer administer these assessments.

While this is a huge feat for our state legislators in this passing, it still does not stop the flow of data on students that come from the schools and thwarted onto stakeholders.  And while the department will no longer provide a statewide solution for a legislatively-required Career Interest Inventory, districts must now contract with vendors individually to administer a Career Interest Inventory to students. The results from the inventory will be used in the state-required Annual Career Plan.

MACC encourages families to seriously consider these policies and ask if it compliments your family values.  You as a parent maintain the rights of refusal to have your child partake in this kind of research analysis – realize the importance of teaching your adult 18 year old the information that is collected on them as well as their family.

It is time for parents to voice their concerns about the protection of their children’s information to their local leaders and legislators.  In short, this system of testing IS failing our children and on a whole, our society.  ACT welcomes your comments and questions.  You may write them with your concerns at:

Vice President, Communications                                      

ACT Inc.                                                                                                                                        

P.O. Box  168                                                                                                                                                    

Iowa City, IA 52243-0168

Most importantly, start contacting your legislators, securing your school groups and talk to your school district on concerns over data collection.

ACT 2015 HS Report (1)

 

Keeping you informed on CCSS in Minnesota

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