Jul 20, 2016
ELW

School Reform News Interviews Dr. Effrem on ESSA Accountability Rules

Jenni White at the Heartland Institute’s School Reform News wrote an excellent article about Orwellian ESSA “accountability” regulations. You know things are bad when Dr. Effrem and Michael Petrilli of the pro-Common Core Thomas B. Fordham Institute both express similar concerns.

Here are quotes from both:

 Effrem –

“Effrem says several factors may make the proposed regulations a ‘disaster.’

‘We have terrible and invasive tests with a punitive, ineffective, unconstitutional, and federally mandated accountability system that has now been made worse by ESSA with all of these Alice-in-Wonderland rules and proposed regulations based on a very byzantine law with no statistical standard, multiple different undecipherable factors, and Orwellian psychological data mining,” Effrem said. “It’s a looming disaster.’”

Petrilli –

“Petrilli says DOE’s new ESSA rules have a rough road ahead of them.

‘I do think we’re going to see some states push back on the executive branch overreach apparent in the rule making process,’ said Petrilli.”

The congressional education leaders are finally realizing the major problems with these regulations which are based on an an extremely flawed law. It is too bad that they did not listen to parent organizations in states all over the country and nationally.  Read the whole great article HERE.

Jul 15, 2016
ELW

The Federalist Publishes Effrem Article on Failure of Government Pre-K & Home Visiting Programs

Thanks to The Federalist for publishing Dr. Effrem’s article showing the growing research consensus confirming her contention that there is no research basis to justify massive federal expansion of preschool: Sending Government Agents Into People’s Homes Won’t Fix Preschool’s Failures. Here is an excerpt discussing preschool:

First, the good news: even think tanks generally aligned with the education establishment in supporting federal involvement in education, particularly early childhood education, are starting to admit the stark truth of the longstanding and stunning lack of evidence for preschool as an effective means to close racial and economic achievement gaps and improve life outcomes.

Dale Farran is one of the co-authors of the 2015 Vanderbilt University study showing not only government preschool’s oft-seen fadeout of benefits to children and society but also the increasingly frequent academic and emotional harm of these programs. She recently admitted in a Brookings Institution white paper that despite 50 years of research, the early childhood research is too small to support: 1) “the proposition that expanding pre-K will improve later achievement for children from low-income families;” 2)“the presumption that solid research exists to guide the content and structure of pre-K programs;” or 3) evidence “about which skills and dispositions are most important to effect in pre-K and what instructional practices would affect them.”

Farran also rightly discusses the sad truth that preschool quality measures have “no empirical validity.” She goes on to say, “Despite being included in national and state policies and used to hold pre-K providers accountable, none of the widely used measures of classroom and center quality relates strongly, if at all, to child growth on the school readiness outcomes on which most pre-K programs are focused.”

This excerpt deals with home visiting:

AEI’s promotion of home visiting is even more alarming. Despite their contentions that parent-child programs like Perry, Abecedarian, and the NFP are the most effective early childhood programs, they fail to mention many significant problems. Besides the IQ issues discussed above, at least one study shows a decline in behavioral parameters for child participants in the Abecedarian program.

The Perry Preschool Project was a very small, unique, and difficult-to-scale program that has been consistently criticized over long periods for many methodological flaws, with the most noticeable one the same as discussed with the Chicago study: the program required significant parental involvement—a mother home during the day—making the experimental group very different from the control group.

Even home visiting programs like the NFP admit their own flaws in the realm of child development. A 2004 review by Olds and Robinson stated that children paraprofessionals visited regularly saw no effects on language, organization (executive functioning), emotional regulation, or behavior. Nurse-visited children had no statistically significant differences in “sensitive-responsive mother-child interaction, children’s emotional regulation, or externalizing behavior problems.”

Here are the conclusions and recommendations:

Jeynes’ review of data from more than 20,000 African-American and Hispanic high school students in the National Educational Longitudinal Survey shows the spectacular result that two-parent families and religious observance actually erases the achievement gap. Students with intact families and high levels of religiosity scored as well as all white students on most achievement measures, and higher than black and Hispanic counterparts without intact families or high religiosity.

This is something that more than $2 trillion dollars and 50 years of oppressive, unconstitutional federal interference have never come close to achieving.

The two-parent family part of this equation can be promoted by removing the marriage penalty in programs like Obamacare (which should be eliminated altogether), ending the penalty for paternal involvement in welfare, and reducing no-fault divorce. The religious involvement part can be achieved by returning to release time to allow students to participate in religious services with their families or extra-curricular clubs. We cannot jump from the preschool frying pan into the home visiting fire, because government programs replacing parents have not ever been nor will ever be successful.

 

Jul 9, 2016
ELW

Federally Funded National Group Pushes More Social Emotional Standards

Jane Robbins, attorney and senior fellow for the American Principles Project and Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education, have both written  excellent columns about the dangers of the next big edu fad – social emotional learning standards. Eight states are working with CASEL to adopt them.  These are California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington.

We have long written about the dangerous loss of freedom of conscience and privacy inherent in social emotional research and data gathering via the allegedly academic Common Core aligned tests that are being amplified in the Every Student Succeeds Act’s accountability paradigm.  Mrs. Robbins was kind enough to cite Dr. Effrem’s  research paper on this topic. Here is an excerpt:

Assessment and development of students’ social and emotional skills is risky business. What kind of training will teachers or other school personnel have for this responsibility? Psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson points out the extremely sensitive nature of evaluating children’s social-emotional makeup and warns about having inadequately trained personnel implementing plans designed to alter students’ psyches.

When non-psychologists dabble in these murky waters, the result is tremendously subjective analyses of what a child is thinking or feeling as opposed to what the government thinks he should be thinking or feeling. Dr. Karen Effrem, who has researched and written extensively about the issue of SEL, warns about the subjectivity of this kind of analysis, particularly with young children.

Even prominent SEL proponents caution that assessing students on SEL standards, especially with the common mechanism of student surveys, can be a shot in the dark. Researchers Angela Duckworth and David Yeager have said that “perfectly unbiased, unfakeable, and error-free measures are an ideal, not a reality.”  [Read the whole column titled: The Latest Big Education Fad, Social-Emotional Learning, Is As Bad As It Sounds]

CASEL or the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning receives major taxpayer funded grants. Their website says they received funding from the Institute for Education Sciencesthat is also pushing the social emotional research and profiling on students via the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA):

In 2013, CASEL was one of six grantees nationwide to receive funding through the first round of Researcher-Practitioner Partnership grants. With IES support, CASEL is partnering with Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada to create a monitoring system that includes SEL indicators and can be used to develop preventative interventions that promote academic, social, and emotional learning among their students.
The group has been involved in pushing this paradigm of non-academic, subjective learning for a long time. Illinois was the first state into which CASEL inserted its tentacles back in 2003. The social emotional standards had connections to federal education law at least as far back as 1994 as Dr. Effrem wrote back at the time:
The merger of the social and emotional with the academic has elevated vague, subjective psychosocial concepts to an equal or even higher plane than academic knowledge. It has also confused what is academic and what standard must be met to succeed in school. Is learning that if 4 birds are in a nest and 2 fly away that 2 are left more important or is learning how to empathize with the birds that are left in the nest? Is it more important to learn tolerance for all lifestyles and behaviors or that certain behaviors have serious physical and emotional consequences.
It was in Goals 2000 and the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), NCLB’s predecessor, that federal interference with local education began in earnest, by demanding the imposition of state standards based on the eight goals of Goals 2000.

Goal number one of Goals 2000 says, “All children will start school ready to learn.” As we have documented, this mandate, disguised as a goal, has given rise to the metastatic growth of early childhood programs across the country. In these programs, “ready to learn” has little or nothing to do with preparing young children to learn academic subjects and much to do with indoctrination of our very youngest and most vulnerable children in the most radical of ideologies. Even if accepted by some parents, it is completely wrong to teach ideology to three, four and five year old children. The ideas being promoted include: earth worshiping environmentalism, radical feminism, engendering fear and hatred of our military, and acceptance of homosexuality. It is these principles that are taught to young children and considered part of “social and emotional” development.

Social and emotional development is a large part of another mandate within Goals 2000. Goal eight says, “Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.” Notice that academic growth is the lowest priority on that list. That relegation of academics to such a low priority has resulted in an emphasis on work based and service learning out of the classroom, group projects, whole language, fuzzy math, and civics that undermine the principles of freedom within the Declaration of Independence.

The merger of the social and emotional with the academic has elevated vague, subjective psychosocial concepts to an equal or even higher plane than academic knowledge. It has also confused what is academic and what standard must be met to succeed in school. Is learning that if 4 birds are in a nest and 2 fly away that 2 are left more important or is learning how to empathize with the birds that are left in the nest? Is it more important to learn tolerance for all lifestyles and behaviors or that certain behaviors have serious physical and emotional consequences.
We would add that regardless of one’s view on any controversial topic, it is the parent’s job to do this training.

It is critical that we as parents fight to protect the hearts and minds of  our precious children from this growing threat to their privacy and freedom of thought. We must reject this overt indoctrination of our children and demand an end to psychological data mining inherent in Common Core based teaching, tests, data mining, and competency based education.

Jun 28, 2016
ELW

ELW Joins Liberty Counsel & National Coalition to Fight Invasive Mindset Profiling in NAEP

For Immediate Release! Liberty Counsel, Education Liberty Watch & Many Groups Warn of Illegal NAEP Mindset Profiling!

Liberty Counsel, an international legal, media and policy organization with an emphasis on religious liberties protected by the First Amendment, sent a letter to several congressional committees regarding the very problematic and illegal plan of the National Assessment Governing Board to assess mindsets and other subjective, socioemotional factors in the 2017 version of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). This letter was signed by eight national organizations, including Education Liberty Watch, and 69 state organizations in 29 different states, including the  Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC).   Here is a summary of those concerns according to Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast, the author of the letter:

 

The NAEP is poised to violate federal law by collecting extremely sensitive psychological/socioemotional data on children; it will do so in a necessarily subjective manner;  it contains a substantial risk of exposing the subject children to possible negative consequences in their later schooling and employment careers, to the extent that even supporters of such assessments are concerned; and it will entrust extremely sensitive data to agencies that are no longer governed by serious privacy law and that have proven they cannot or will not keep personal student data secure.

These proposed changes constitute potential parental rights violations, and expose the children to a litany of harms in the present and in the future. Thus, any efforts to ask questions concerning mindsets and other socioemotional parameters and to collect that data via the NAEP should be halted immediately.

 

“We are extremely pleased and thankful that Liberty Counsel and so many organizations around the country have joined this important national fight for student data and psychological privacy,” said Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch and executive director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition. “Congress must do its due diligence and properly exercise its oversight authority to stop these obvious statutory and constitutional violations and this continued federal overreach before the privacy and futures of our students are further harmed. We urge our members to help educate their members of Congress about this issue and to be sure to opt their children out of this very invasive test.”

 

 

Contact:

Karen R. Effrem, MD

dockaren@edlibertywatch.org

952-361-4931 (office)

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What You Can Do:

1) Make sure your members of Congress see this letter and demand that the planned psychological profiling of our children be stopped.

 

2) Also educate your congressional representatives on the dangers of social emotional research in SETRA – S 227, the Strengthening Education Through Research Act by giving or sending them this one page handout.

 

3) Educate your candidates for Congress on these very important privacy issues

 

4) PLEASE support us in this David and Goliath battle against the Washington Education Cartel trying to control the lives and futures of our children and grandchildren! 

 

DONATE AT http://edlibertywatch.org/donate/

 

Thank you for everything you are doing to protect the hearts and minds of our children!

 

 

 

 

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