Sadly the corporate and government establishment has blocked an excellent data protection bill, HB 267, by Rep. Arnold Mooney that was supported by a coalition of organizations as diverse as Alabama Eagle Forum and the Alabama chapter of the ACLU, had 35 co-sponsors and for which both the American Principles Project and Education Liberty Watch were consulted.
Now, the chairwoman of the House Education Committee has authored an invasive data mining bill, HB 125, which establishes a longitudinal database with very few privacy protections. It is backed by the Business and Workforce Councils of Alabama, the type of state level corporate and government groups that have been pushing the inferior, inappropriate, and indoctrinating Common Core Standards; the invasive tests, and career tracking that will be possible with these databases.
Here is a description of the bill and the Alabama Eagle Forum’s concerns as reported by the Alabama Political Reporter:
HB125 would create the Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics. This bill will apply to all public school students and workers leaving public education. Eagle Forum writes, “It will collect private information on individuals, potentially through their entire lives. The purpose of this bill is to collect information on students, and monitor them indefinitely. As the bill states, ‘to create the Alabama Longitudinal Data System to provide for the matching of information about students from early learning through postsecondary education and into employment.’ (pg. 1) The stated goal of the legislation is to, ‘guide decision makers at all levels.’ (pg. 3) No clear basis or need for this mass amount of data collection on private citizens including students is provided. The bill contains only vague promises of confidentially with no actual method of protection or limitation on the data collection power of these new agencies. The bill claims to provide protections but provides none. The protection and the maintenance of confidentiality of collected educational data, including compliance with the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and all other relevant state and federal privacy laws, and all relevant state cyber security policies, (pg. 5).”
Eagle Forum wrote, “There are currently no State or Federal laws which apply to this bill in regard to protecting students’ personally identifiable information such as name, social security number, or family information. Even if all the information collected were dis-aggregate (meaning not on-its-own enough to identify an individual) it is still dangerous. Dis-aggregate information becomes personal information once you have just a few data points. Eagle Forum of Alabama opposes HB125, as it would create two extremely powerful agencies and violate the rights of Alabamians. If the government is going to seek any private information from citizens, they must provide a sound basis or get a warrant.”
If this issue is important to you and you have friends and family in Indiana, you may wish to get in touch with them to urge their Alabama senators to oppose HB 125 right away (session ends May 16th)! Thank you!
Please see this excellent letter from Child Protection League Action President Renee Doyle about the very concerning proposed plan of the MN High School League to allow transgendered athletes to participate in sports based on their mental gender/gender identity instead of biological gender; creating the idea that gender is a choice; without proper separation in showers, locker rooms and hotels; and creating an unfair advantage for boys changing to girls on female teams.
Dear Board Members,
Minnesota citizens are just beginning to learn about the MSHSL’s draft policy under consideration by your Board regarding transgender students’ participation in high school athletics according to their gender choice rather than actual gender.
Child Protection League Action is appalled that this proposal has made its way so far within your organization as to be seriously presented to the public and actually be considered for adoption. We are stunned at the MSHSL’s abuse of power and policymaking granted to you under MN §128c.01 Subd.2., whereby the governing board of a high school may “delegate its control of extracurricular activities to the league…spend money for, and pay dues to, the league.”
It is one thing for the “MSHSL to allow participation for all students regardless of their gender identity or expression” as the first line of your proposed policy states. We would agree with that policy. However, that is not the underlying assumption of the proposed policy, and it is grossly unfair to mislead the public in this regard. The true underlying assumption of your proposed policy is that gender is a matter of choice and not biology, which is absurd.
You have even gone so far as to use Title IX as your authority to establish such an overreaching policy. Title IX is remarkably clear in prohibiting sex discrimination within educational institutions, and that “sex” means biological gender. A student can transgender from one sex to another, but there are still only two “sexes.” Title IX addresses only the “imbalance” between the treatment of the two genders of “boys and girls” – as groups in general. It does not address balancing out the individual mental gender identity preferences of individuals. To scare school districts into thinking that they will be out of compliance with Title IX if they do not comply with this policy is reprehensible.
In strictly practical terms, nothing in this draft requires schools to separate men from women in showers, bathroom facilities, locker rooms or hotel rooms. In fact, the first draft of this policy states, “transgender students should not be required to use separate facilities.” While that language has been changed in the later draft, the new language vaguely describes that the schools are to ensure “reasonable and appropriate restroom and locker room accessibility for students.” What is “reasonable” and “appropriate?” Most importantly, who will decide, and how will that decision be made? The policy contains no avenue of appealing decisions made regarding accommodations.
It is one thing to intimidate school districts, but the trauma that this will cause to our children, through the blatant privacy violations of the non-trans student is alarming. There are issues of obvious unfairness concerning mixed gender competition and athletes losing positions to a member of the opposite sex after years of practice and training. But we are shocked that this proposal intends to impose on all students and families, statewide–public, private, religious and home schools—the radical idea that gender is a choice, not biology. If implemented, it will put our children at great physical, emotional, and psychological risk.
The transgender athlete, in contrast, has four separate levels of appeal if his or her determination is denied by the school. The final judgment will rest with a single individual appointed by the Executive Director of the MSHSL Board of Directors. Who is this individual? On what basis will he/she be chosen? What qualifications will he/she have? The determination process is unprofessional at best, and cannot inspire the confidence of families or the public.
In MN, there is nothing that prevents a transgendered student to participate in any sport with their biological gender. In fact, they cannot be discriminated against if they want to play with their biological counterparts while dressing like the opposite gender. That would be stereotyping.
Minnesota enjoys a robust, competitive, and highly admired sports program, for which we recognize the MSHSL as having played a huge role. But what you are asking Minnesota parents to do is allow transgendered students something that other students do not have, and that is the flexibility to play on either team. That is taking it too far.
CPLAction works to protect children from exploitation, indoctrination and violence. We strongly urge you to reject this measure.
Renée T. Doyle,
The battle against the Common Core standards is raging across the country. Here is some of the more recent news.
HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS FIRST:
Florida – In a great combined effort between a statewide coalition of activists under Floridians Against Common Core Education and Education Liberty Watch, Florida’s invasive data mining/tracking bill, SB 878 was stopped. This bill connected Florida’s data collection system to the National Center of Education Statistics data elements that contain 300-400 pieces of very personal and private data as well as gathering data on students through their work lives. For a bill that had passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously with the difference of a small amendment to be stopped is unprecedented, even miraculous. It speaks to the intense concern about and passion of parents to protect the privacy of their children’s and families data from government bureaucrats and corporate profiteers, as well as the inspired research and lobbying team that fought for parental rights in Tallahassee. Details are here. Legislative leaders, the chairman of the state Republican party and the governor are no longer using the phrase “Common Core” in press releases. This combined with some language that will hopefully slow the pace of Common Core implementation in Florida will allow the battle to continue next year.
Indiana – Governor Mike Pence heard the voice of the people of Indiana whose elected representatives passed by wide margins a bill to take a pause on the Common Core by allowing public hearings and a fiscal analysis before further implementation. Passage of this bill makes Indiana the first state in the nation to pause or withdraw from Common Core after having adopted it. Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle along with their statewide coalition Hoosiers Against Common Core deserve great credit for their perseverance and passion despite attacks by the always big government promoting Chamber of Commerce and the other corporate and foundation interests. Details are available here.
U.S. House of Representatives – Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has written a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan with concerns about the lack of congressional oversight into Common Core and the irregular process by which the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was changed to weaken student privacy without Congress via regulation. Education Liberty Watch is thankful to Rep. Leutkemeyer and all of the 33 cosigners including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN 6), Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL 19), and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL 5) for this effort that will hopefully lead to legislation restoring the privacy protections of FERPA.
U.S. Senate – Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and eight other senators [Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)] sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) requesting the defunding of the Common Core standards and tests in compliance with federal law. We can only hope that this effort is successful, but it will be difficult given the partisan divide of the Senate.
The Republican National Committee – The RNC unanimously passed a resolution at their Spring meeting condemning the Common Core and it associated data collection system. It is available here. This sets up a needed debate between the freedom minded, limited government and the corporate and foundation backed establishment elite.
NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS:
Minnesota – Despite many valid legal, legislative, and content concerns, an administrative law judge approved the Common Core linked Minnesota Social Studies standards. The judge’s decision may be viewed here and a cogent analysis by attorney Marjorie Holsten may be viewed here. Legal options are still being considered.
In addition, Minnesota’s education finance bills seem to be performing a stealth implementation of the Common Core math standards that they had so wisely and on a bipartisan basis rejected. That implementation is being accomplished by using the ACT or SAT as the graduation exam. Because these tests are aligned to the Common Core standards, Minnesota students will in essence have to learn the Common Core math standards in order to pass this exam. This is despite the fact that experts like James Milgram, professor emeritus at Stanford, and who refused to sign off on the final version of the math standards while serving on the validation committee, sees the standards as being behind international norms by at least two years at the end of eighth grade.
Florida – The education finance bill is still going ahead with an implementation plan for the Common Core assessments.
Georgia – This state’s Common Core withdrawal bill was tabled in the state senate.
Alabama – Alabama’s bill to withdraw from Common Core was killed by the Senate President Pro Tempore.
There are starting to be cracks in the dam of the once inevitable Common Core system, but as one can see there is much work still to be done. Education Liberty Watch appreciates your support. Please stay engaged with both your activism and your finances.
Education Liberty Watch was honored to be able to join with what has now become The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition to defeat Florida’s very invasive Common Core linked data collection/data mining bill SB 878, (See Dr. Karen Effrem’s analysis and correspondence with Florida legislators here, here, and here). Here is the end of session update written by the Florida group’s lobbyist, Randy Osborne:
A BATTLE WON!
As we began this journey several weeks ago, many bills had been written already, many were out of committee, and some were days from being passed into law. Our goals were simply to slow down the implementation of Common Core and to stop the intrusive data-mining between the State and the Federal Government. Through your help and by the grace of God, we were able to accomplish both of these goals.
The following is an update of bills that we have been fighting:
Senate Bill 878- A bill sponsored by Senator Galvano was a very intrusive bill that would have connected over 400 data points with the federal government. Though we were able to get a portion of the language out of the bill such as religious and political affiliation as well as a few other points, we were not able to get the bill completely stopped. The Senate unanimously passed this bill, sent it to the House which, again, unanimously passed it with a small amendment. Through the tireless efforts of our supporters, the bill died in committee. Frankly, for a bill to die, having moved this far through the process, is very unlikely. In fact, we were concerned that the language was placed in another bill not related to education. After the tedious analysis of thousands of pages of legislation and the end of session, we knew the bill indeed had died.
House Bills such as 7027 and 7057 also died which had similar language to SB878.
Senate Bill 1630’s language was moved into another bill and was passed. This bill requires technological load testing of systems prior to implementation of Common Core. In this good bill, sponsored by Senator Legg, we asked that there be language requiring a short and long term cost analysis of Common Core prior to implementation. Though this language was not put in the bill, we believe that we will be able to get this language into a bill in next year’s session.
Make no mistake – we have won a battle but the war is still raging and Common Core proponents are working hard to stop our coalition. We must not let them win! Our children’s and our nation’s futures are at stake!
The following is our course of action:
• Educate – We must educate the voters, parents, teachers, school board members, and our politicians. We are currently developing a plan to create a state-wide effort to accomplish this task.
• Engage – We must expand our statewide coalition to build a force of citizens to hold our elected officials accountable to stop Common Core.
- Assessments + Testing (12)
- Bullying/Sex Education (5)
- Calendar/Announcements (4)
- Common Core Standards (61)
- Curriculum + Standards (48)
- Data Collection and Data Privacy (24)
- Early Education/Nanny State (60)
- Federal Education (89)
- International Education (1)
- LGBT Issues in Education (2)
- Media Appearances (4)
- Mental Health (23)
- Planned Economy (2)
- Politics of Education (7)
- State Education (76)
- Testimony/Presentations (15)
- Uncategorized (3)
- Unions (10)
Education Liberty Watch Projects
- American Principles Project
- Cato Institute
- Conservative Teachers of America
- Constitutional Coalition
- Eagle Forum
- Minnesota Advocates and Champions for Children
- Missouri Education Watchdog
- Restore Oklahoma Parent Empowerment
- Stop Common Core
- The Pioneer Institute
- Truth in American Education
- What is Common Core – Education Without Representation