Browsing articles in "Federal Education"
Sep 19, 2017
ELW

Submit Federal Education Privacy Comments by 9-20 at 11:59 PM!

We now have an opportunity to protect the privacy and minds of our children. We can submit comments in support of President Trump’s effort to scale back regulations, particularly in the U.S. Department of Education on several of these topics. All comments must be submitted by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, September 20th at this website:  https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ED-2017-OS-0074-0001.
Here are two big areas of “fed ed” regulations. There are more detailed comments below that you may add if you want to, but all you really need to do is to ask for 1) Withdrawal of all the FERPA regulatory changes made to 34 CFR, Part 99 that went into effect in January of 2012 and 2) Enforcement of the statutory prohibition on assessing “attitudes and beliefs” of a student or their family in ESSA’s state mandated assessments or in the NAEP.
Thank you for what you can do and for your efforts to protect the hearts and minds of children!
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Detailed Additional Information for Potential Comments
1) FERPA – Withdraw the regulatory changes to FERPA that went into effect in 2012. This would prevent USED, state agencies, and schools from disclosing personally identifiable information (PII) to literally anyone in the world, without parental consent or even notification, if the disclosing entity uses the correct language to justify the disclosure. Ask USED to:

Restore the longstanding, pre-2012 definitions and interpretations of an “authorized representative,” “education program,” and other terms.

Stop a state department of education or other agency that receives PII for other purposes from redisclosing that data to other entities, such as researchers, without parental consent.

Restore the audit exception so that the requirement (previously contained in 34 CFR §99.35(a)(2)) that in order for a state or local educational authority to conduct an audit, evaluation, or compliance or enforcement activity, it must demonstrate authority to do so under some federal, state, or local grant of authority.

2) Enforce the statutes prohibiting the assessment of “attitudes and beliefs” in surveys associated with ESSA’s mandated state tests and in the NAEP.
Such surveys (which are being administered without parental consent) violate one or both of the following:

ESSA [20 U.S.C. §6311(b)(2)(B)(iii)] requiring statewide assessments to “objectively measure academic achievement, knowledge, and skills, and be tests that do not evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes or disclose personally identifiable information.” There is identical language in the Education Sciences Reform Act that covers the NAEP [20 USC §9622(b)(5)(A)]

PPRA [20 U.S.C. §1232h(b)(1-8)], which requires parental review and consent for surveys in federally funded education programs that ask about 8 sensitive items, including mental health, illegal or anti-social behavior; or sexual behavior or attitudes.

Jul 28, 2017
ELW

The Pulse – Congress Ignores Obvious Problems with State-Run Preschool at Hearing

 

Dr. Effrem’s latest article at the National Pulse discusses a recent U.S. House education subcommittee hearing on preschool that except for one courageous congressman, Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-VA), completely failed to mention the utter failure of Head Start and other government preschool programs. Here is an excerpt:

The Failure of Head Start and State-Run Preschool

The 2012 follow-up study that followed the same children as in the 2010 study through third grade instead of stopping at first grade also found no benefits of Head Start after the preschool year(s):

Looking across the full study period, from the beginning of Head Start through 3rd grade, the evidence is clear that access to Head Start improved children’s preschool outcomes across developmental domains, but had few impacts on children in kindergarten through 3rd grade.

The 2010 and 2012 studies are just two examples of literally hundreds of government studies showing the failure and/or harm of Head Start. This sampling dates back to 1985 and includes a government review of 600 studies from 1997 that could not find any benefit of the program, saying:

The body of research on current Head Start is insufficient to draw conclusions about the impact of the national program.

This of course does not even begin to discuss the numerous studies showing ineffectiveness, fade-out of beneficial effects, and actual academic and emotional harm of preschool programs other than Head Start. And despite what Rep. Polis says, quality of the Head Start program makes no difference.  The 2014 study of Head Start examined the effect of quality on program outcomes and found:

We find little evidence that quality matters to impacts of Head Start using the available quality measures from the study across two age cohorts, three quality dimensions, five outcomes, and several years. The one exception is that for 3-year-old program entrants low exposure quality, defined as less exposure to academic activities during Head Start participation, produces better behavioral impacts in the short-run than more exposure to academic activities. Even so, there is no indication that either high quality Head Start or low quality Head Start in any dimension leads to program impacts lasting into third grade. [Emphasis added]

It is also important to remember that concept of “quality preschool” leading to better outcomes is only a myth:

The hearing witness from Minnesota, Ericca Maas, represents the organization that has been pushing that state’s scholarship program based on the ratings of the QRIS for several years. To receive a 3- or 4-star rating in Minnesota system, required for parents to use state scholarship funds with that provider, the provider must use Minnesota’s early childhood content standards that until this year discussed gender identity and environmentalism with children as young as three. The new version still discusses the environment and adds in family structure diversity under the still subjective and controversial social emotional category.

It is interesting to note that even though Minnesota’s statist model to impose these controversial standards on private, religious, and family childcare programs is lauded by pre-K proponents as a model for the feds to fund and for states to emulate, when asked during the hearing if the program has closed achievement gaps, Maas admitted unequivocally that it had not (1:17:08).

As Congress works on the budget, it is important to remind your representative and senators about the abject failure of government pre-K and home visiting programs and in the current $20 trillion debt, increasing the funding for Head Start, as is currently being proposed in the House appropriations bill makes very little sense.

Read the full article here.

Jul 26, 2017
ELW

National Parent Coalition Letter to Congress on Student Data & Psychological Privacy

Education Liberty Watch had the honor of helping to lead a national parent coalition of national, state and local organizations concerned about student data and psychological privacy after a recent U.S. House hearing on the topic. The following email was sent to the Education and Workforce Committee:

Dear Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member Scott, Chairman Rokita, and Ranking Member Polis and the Education & Workforce Committee,

Thank you for holding the recent hearing on federal education research & privacy. Please see the following link to a national parent coalition letter containing the views, concerns and recommendations regarding student data and psychological privacy after the June 28th hearing of the Subcommittee on on Preschool, Elementary, and Secondary Education titled “Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy.”

http://edlibertywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Final-Letter-to-Committee-chairs-7-17-.pdf

This coalition includes 9 national organizations and 72 state and local organizations from 33 states, representing hundreds of thousands of concerned parents and citizens across the nation.

We respectfully, but strongly urge you to not include social emotional research in any reauthorization of ESRA, rescind the Obama administration regulatory gutting of privacy in FERPA as that is reauthorized, and enforce PPRA to prohibit psychological screening & profiling in any kind of assessments, not just surveys.

I will be happy to forward any responses from you to the coalition.

Thank you for your attention to this critical education issue.

Best regards,

Karen R. Effrem, MD

President, Education Liberty Watch

Executive Director, The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition

Education Liberty Watch President, Dr. Karen Effrem made the following statement to the media:

“It is extremely important for Congress to hear from parents of students whose lives are affected by the womb-to-tomb data collection and psychological profiling,” Parent concern about the social emotional learning (SEL) research and other data collection in the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA) as well as the regulatory weakening of FERPA were extremely important in keeping SETRA from passing in the last session of Congress. All of the data breaches and the push for SEL teaching, assessment, and research without consent has made parents more concerned, not less, about their students’ privacy, and more determined than ever to protect it in this next session of Congress.”

Please contact your members of Congress about this letter and demand protection of student privacy!

The National Pulse: Mother Denied Parental Rights over Transgender Teen Appeals Court Ruling

Last month, Dr. Effrem described the bizarre and dangerous Minnesota federal court decision that “emancipated” a minor child from his mother, thereby denying her inherent parental right to direct the academic, medical, and other aspects of the care and upbringing of her own son — all without any of the due process normally involved in such situations.

The story continues:

According to the Minnesota Child Protection League (CPL), an organization which has been supporting Ms. Calgaro’s efforts, attorneys for the district made the situation painfully worse:

Attorneys for the school district went on to state that, since Calgaro had filed a lawsuit to assert her parental rights, her request should be denied in order to protect her son from “further harm.”  Consider that. The school administration is empowered to decide that Calgaro is harmful to her son because she challenged the violation of her parental rights in court.

Continue to read!

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