Jane Robbins, attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project wrote another excellent article about invasive federal involvement in early childhood education, this time in the context of Hillary Clinton’s dangerous pre-K plan. In it she discussed Clinton’s strong desire to to extend her work as First Lady of Arkansas where she expanded a failed childcare/home visiting program called Parents as Teachers and then as US First Lady when she wrote the book It Takes a [Government] Village.
Robbins discusses the help Clinton has received on her quest from both President Obama who has been promoting universal preschool for his entire presidency and the Congressional Republicans who caved and gave him another $250 million for preschool in the Every Student Succeed Act.
She also discussed the push for even more national pre-K standards aligned to Common Core, especially the invasive social emotional standards and the terrible track record of failure and harm caused by these programs. On the last two issues, she was kind enough to mention or link to Dr. Effrem’s research in these areas, for which we thank her. Here is an excerpt:
In any event, the Gates-funded ETS argues that as long as the federal government has pushed Common Core onto the states, beginning in kindergarten, the accomplishment-inducing preschool standards should be aligned with Common Core. That way preschool can be standardized across the country, eliminating the dreaded “inequity” by ensuring all preschoolers are drilled according to the same garbage standards. Alignment would also allow teachers to share instructional strategies and all teach the same thing. We can’t have children in Kansas coloring duckies while Minnesotans are focusing on kittens.
And of course, these standards should emphasize “social-emotional learning.” The government must expect teachers to observe and record toddlers’ psychological development and attributes, which information will be fed into the state longitudinal database for future use. Children will be affected — perhaps haunted — by these subjective observations throughout their school careers, and maybe beyond.
Where to begin? First, much research establishes that government-sponsored preschool either has little benefit for children, or actually damages their development and learning.
For example, multiple studies (see HERE and HERE for the most recent) have established that the federal Head Start program doesn’t benefit children beyond the earliest years of elementary school. A federally funded study from 2012 showed that Head Start participation produces little to no benefit in either cognitive or social-emotional development. And in some areas, Head Start even has harmful effects. (Of course, this evidence has not diminished federal funding for Head Start taxpayers have coughed up around $200 billion for this useless-to-harmful program since its inception.)
A more recent study of Tennessee’s pre-K program was similarly discouraging. This study found that participants in the state program showed no benefits by the end of kindergarten, and in fact, by first and second grade performed worse than children who avoided the state pre-K.
Numerous studies of Head Start and other state programs have shown initial gains but then either “fadeout” or decline/harm in subsequent years. According to pediatrician Dr. Karen Effrem, it’s not unusual to see an initial improvement that then disappears, or even deteriorates into decline, in both academic and behavioral parameters.
But even if there were solid evidence supporting government preschool, the suggestion that Common Core-aligned national standards be imposed is, to use a technical term, nuts. Early-childhood educators and other development experts have blasted the Common Core K-3 standards as grossly inappropriate from a child-development standpoint. In 2010, over 500 early-childhood experts issued a joint statement urging rejection of the standards as utterly incompatible with real human children and how they learn.
Read the full article – No, Hillary Clinton Won’t Make Preschool Great Again.
The Pulse 2016 published Dr. Effrem’s latest post on the dangers of student data privacy in response to US News & World Report’s frightening op-ed lauding invasive affective data mining that psychologically profiles our children in the name of promoting the absolutely awful Next Generation Science Standards. Here is an excerpt:
Gobert, whose company develops the software she lauds (no conflict of interest there), attempts to justify both the invasive data-mining and the NGSS, which have received poor reviews from many, varied organizations. She raises the favorite bogeyman of the establishment — American students’ 21st place in international rankings of science performance, supposedly endangering US global competitiveness. Yet, she ignores contrary data and research showing no correlation between these rankings and national economic performance.
More alarming is this paragraph, containing the kind of language that sends parents running for the exits of public schools and possibly towards attorneys:
Educational data mining offers more than the traditional statistics used on typical, multiple-choice tests. These high-fidelity data are in the form of log files from mouse clicks within the digital learning environment. They also measure and monitor things like students’ saccadic eye patterns as students learn from visual and textual information sources, data from sensors tracking facial expressions and posture, and more. These data are all fine-grained, reflecting students’ learning processes, knowledge, affective states . . . . [emphasis added].
Such devices were illustrated and described in a 2013 report called by the US Department of Education’s Office of Technology (USOT) (since removed from the website due to parental backlash):
The May 13th edict from the Obama administration demands that every public school in America must allow transgendered students to use the restroom/locker room and participate on the sports teams of their chosen gender identity or risk losing federal funding. Using Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as a pretext, the joint Justice and Education Department decree redefines the term “sex,” referring to the biological characteristic defined by chromosomes assigned at birth as “gender identity” which the letter defines as:
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force definition is even more alarmingly radical, vague and socially transformative as used in a pre-K curriculum called Making Room in the Circle: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Families in Early Childhood Settings:
The incredible danger to the safety and privacy of the estimated 99.7% of American public school students that do not have gender fluidity/gender dysphoria issues is obvious, mostly because of how sexual criminals will exploit the opportunity to harm young girls. An extremely concerning, long list of sexual crimes has taken place in Target restrooms even before their ill-considered policy to allow restroom choice based on gender identity that has cost their business over $1 billion. And an 8-year old was choked to unconsciousness in the restroom of the Chicago restaurant.
But this tyrannical proclamation is harmful to every group involved. This includes the very group this dictate alleges to protect:
When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people–extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered–documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers. (Emphasis added).
Karen R. Effrem, MD – President
Anti-Common Core Senator Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign yesterday evening. With pro-Common Core John Kasich mathematically out of the race, Republicans are left with Donald Trump who has called education a core function of the federal government while stating he opposes Common Core.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton supports the standards, voted for No Child Left Behind and Bernie Sanders supported ESSA.
As with everything else, we will need to stay tuned to see what happens with education in this, our beleaguered republic. In the mean time, please help us continue to fight SETRA and the assessment of mindsets in the NAEP.
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