A Minnesota Legend and the Future of Digitized Education in America

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Minnesota Legendary Reporter Jim Ragsdale and the Future of Digitized Education in America

In 2013 reporter Jim Ragsdale brought to light our Minnesota legislative auditor’s report on data collection and very questionable security for our state’s schools via the Minnesota Department of Education.   Recently Mr. Ragsdale passed away, but not without remembrance of his courage to report hard news.

“In Minnesota, a legislative auditor discovered that the state department of education’s computer systems ‘lacked adequate internal controls and comprehensive security plans’ and that department employees ‘had failed to document where private (student) data was held or the internal controls needed to secure it.’ The federal government having access, via these interconnected longitudinal data systems, to so much data about our kids is frightening. And it’s not just academic information that’s at stake.”

Anne Taylor asks why more journalists are not covering this and related stories.  Read on to learn what educational topics would be of definite interests to parents and citizens if covered by local journalists.

A Minnesota Legend and the Future of Digitized Education in America (2)

MACC Historic Day

MACC Historic Day

With a historic day now behind us, MACC wishes to thank all of you who got involved in this election.  For many of you it was the first time.  You got to see firsthand how the system works, and the power of a motivated voter.

MACC especially wants to thank all of the candidates that understood our message of protecting our children, and preserving the integrity of our education system.  With the results of last evening’s selections across our State, MACC has a renewed sense of optimism regarding education policy in Minnesota.

MACC saw many candidates embrace and actively promote the anti-Common Core message, and found it a winning one.  51% of parents do not support Common Core, and that number continues to grow as many still are not aware of the subject.  Common Core is a topic that will continue to motivate parents until it is successfully repealed.

MACC looks forward to working with all elected officials to create a learning environment that is beneficial to all students and the State.

ATTENTION TEACHERS! (and those concerned about education)


ATTENTION TEACHERS! (and those concerned about education)

by Chris Daniels

This election will go down in history as determining the path of education for our Country.  There are a lot of mixed messages coming from groups that supposedly support teachers, and for those of you in the profession, you are no doubt confused and concerned.

Common Core, or World’s Best Workforce in Minnesota, is fueling heated debates and hyperbole.  Here is a snapshot of what is happening both Nationally and in our State.

  1. The President of the NEA has stated that Common Core is not a magic cure for the achievement gap – Common Core has been promoted to do exactly this
  2. The National Federation of Teachers just partnered with a new data collection agency to promote Common Core
  3. $460,000 of both in State and out of State money has come in to the Minneapolis School Board elections – Including from 50Can, Arthur Rock who is on the TFA Board of Directors, and Mike Ciresi
  4. Org is sponsoring an Anti-CC petition in Illinois – yet the other George Soros funded group, Center for American Progress, is working hard to support CC
  5. Vergara v. CA, which undermined teacher unions and tenure, is being trotted around the Country and promoted by a group led by former press secretary for Pres. Obama, Robert Gibbs, CNN personality Campbell Brown and a few other Obama Admin people
  6. Data breaches of children’s information, including Social Security numbers – but we’re worried about Google?
  7. Teachers jobs threatened if they openly speak negatively about Common Core
  8. NY Gov. Cuomo threatens to “bust the public school monopoly” – in a State in which over 7000 teachers signed a petition to pull support of Common Core and the Dept of Ed President
  9. Technology is taking the place of teachers, yet the CDC says to limit our children’s exposure to it as it rewires their brains and affects social interaction skills
  10. NBC News is the first major network to broadcast a negative story about Common Core
  11. A Gallup poll shows a majority of parents now oppose Common Core

Over $5 billion dollars have been dumped into the system to promote this juggernaut of an unproven, untested, underperforming curriculum.  Why, do you ask, if it is so great does it need so much promotion?  Because it is about a power grab, and not about education.  As proven by Arne Duncan and the amount of money coming in from out of State, it isn’t about control by a State, and especially not control at a local level.

How many teachers have felt the changes and pressures that have come with this radical shift in education policy?  From what we have heard, a lot.  And it will continue to mount going forward, as it is dictated in the Minnesota NCLB waivers and CCSSO documents, that in the 2015 – 2016 school year that test scores will determine hiring and firing practices of teachers.  Teachers are under fire, with expectations that are difficult to meet, and testing taking over the school calendar.  Some districts in Minnesota have students taking 14 standardized tests a year.

The Vergara v. CA case laid the very ground work to undermine the unions and weaken teacher tenure, to allow the poor testing dismissals easier.  And rumor has it that former DFL Senate candidate Mike Ciresi has offered to be the pro bono lawyer in the Vergara case that will no doubt come to Minnesota.  As it said in the Star Tribune article, he has “an interest in education”.

It seems that money and corporate cronyism has taken precedent over a truly good education, and truly good and dedicated teachers.  I can tell you the MACC was at the Capital a lot last year trying to speak with the Education Committee members and inform them of our concerns.  We spoke with a lot of them, but not all.  One side of the aisle met with us more than the other, and one Ed Committee chair was quite rude and came off as angry.  We sent out surveys to all candidates, and while we didn’t receive as many as we would have liked back, there was a side of the aisle that was almost completely absent.  The side of the aisle that is noticeably absent, is supposed to be the side that supports teachers.

So while MACC is working feverishly to be non-partisan and provide information and education to all in an effort to get everyone on board, we are falling short not due to our lack of effort, but a lack of participation.  MACC is here to support teachers, and GOOD education for the future of all of our children.

I ask you only look at the voting on World’s Best Workforce to see who supports Common Core.  Then I ask you to think not only about who you are voting for this election, but what.  What will your vote mean to the future of yours, your friends or your family members chosen field of professionalism?

My child is more than a test taker, and you, teachers, are more than a test score.