The National Pulse: The Government’s Latest Education Experiments Are Truly Scary

Dr. Karen Effrem denounces sponsors of the global workforce development movement that sees children as widgets instead of individuals with their own dreams and aspirations.

OECD sponsors the PISA test and is a major player in the global workforce development movement that sees children as widgets instead of individuals with their own dreams and aspirations. Education Liberty Watch’s comments on this terrible idea can be summarized as follows:

There are already dozens of studies showing that preschool is minimally effective, that beneficial effects fade with time or is academically and emotionally harmful. Social emotional assessment, especially for young children, is extraordinarily subjective and unreliable, violates parental autonomy, and the private right of conscience of free American citizens. This is especially true when data security within the U.S. Department of Education is so poor.

https://thenationalpulse.com/politics/governments-education-experiments-truly-scary/

Feb 20, 2017
ELW

The National Pulse: Will Trump and DeVos Protect Preschoolers from Transgender Ideologues?

Now that the presidential election is over, American Principles Project has revamped its important political blog, changing its name from The Pulse 2016 to the National Pulse. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Effrem’s first article for that new effort: 

In good news this week for student privacy and safety, the Trump administration announced it would be dropping objections raised by the Obama Justice Department (DOJ) to a nationwide injunction from a Texas judge against transgender student access to bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to gender identity instead of biological sex. Oral arguments were to have begun this past week in the case, the first time federal courts have been asked to review whether laws prohibiting sex discrimination also apply to gender identity, a subjective and changeable construct. A preponderance of research shows that most gender confused youth return to identifying as their biological sex by adolescence or early adulthood.

The move by Trump was widely cheered by groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who said:

This is good news for the privacy, safety, and dignity of young students across America. The Obama Administration radically distorted a federal law that was intended to equalize educational opportunities for women and misused the law to place members of the opposite sex into students’ private facilities. Today, the Trump Administration took the first steps to end that error.

While a number of other cases involving this issue are still pending across the country, including G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board which is set to be heard by the Supreme Court next month, this is not the only way in which transgender ideology has begun to intrude upon schools. Lesser known, but perhaps more troubling, is the move towards federal social emotional standards, especially those for children as young as preschool age.

The Head Start Performance Standards, recently approved at the end of the Obama administration, require the Head Start Child Outcome Framework and include completely inappropriate “Baby Common Core”–style standards. These contain a whole section of social emotional learning standards, including one on gender identity affecting 3-5 year old children:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The column ends with the following concerns about how Secretary DeVos will handle this issue:

While parents deeply concerned by this ideological agenda have some reason to hope for relief from the Trump administration, it is worth noting that new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has a complicated history on the issue of transgenderism. As The New York Times reported last month:

Ms. DeVos’s personal experience with the debate over gender identity and bathrooms dates back decades. As chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, she came to the aid of a transgender woman who wanted to use the women’s restroom at a call center, upsetting some of the other women there, according to two associates at the time — Mr. McNeilly, who was the party’s political director, and Eric Doster, the general counsel…’ A lot of the co-workers weren’t happy with it. But that’s who Betsy is.’

With Head Start reauthorization coming up soon, let us hope that DeVos cares more about protecting the innocence, hearts, and minds of young children than she does about the political agendas of adults.

Read the full article HERE.

Feb 12, 2017
ELW

ELW Referenced in Pre-K Letter to Sen. Isakson by GA Attorney

 

 

As we reported, there were many issues brought up during the Senate confirmation hearing of now Secretary Betsy DeVos that were alarming and disappointing to grassroots parents seeking to protect their children from ever-increasing federal overreach.  One very important of those issues is government funded and controlled preschool. Here is what we said:

Preschool – Senator Isakson (R-GA) made the following very alarming statement during the hearing (1:02:55):

“She [Senator Murray] talked about her goal and my goal which we’ve shared with each other, that is to work toward requiring 4 year old prekindergarten for every student in the country…” (Emphasis added).

Thankfully DeVos demurred with her standard, “If confirmed, I look forward to working with you on…” statement. However, given how ineffective, harmful, invasive and expensive these programs are, including in Georgia, expanding preschool like this would be a “disaster” of Trumpian proportions.

Unfortunately, Secretary DeVos did not demure on the issue in her written responses to Senator Murray:

Murray Question 30. Research shows that at-risk children who participate in high-quality preschool programs are dramatically less likely to be retained in school, be placed in special education classes, drop out of high school, or depend on public benefits when they are adults. What will you do to help states expand high-quality, affordable early childhood education programs?

DEVOS ANSWER: Early childhood education is important. This is why it is exciting to see so many states invest in and support early education programs for families. If confirmed, I look forward to working with state and local leaders to support their efforts to provide early childhood education. As you know, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) included the authorization of Preschool Development Grants to help states improve the services they are providing. If confirmed, I will work with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to confirm the efficiency and effectiveness of all early childhood education programs and initiatives. (Emphasis added).

Attorney Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project, writing an open letter opinion piece to her home senator,  was also alarmed at Senator Isakson’s questioning during the hearing and the philosophy behind it:

In questioning U.S. Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos at her Senate hearing recently, Sen. Johnny Isakson adopted this children-as-widgets world view. Did Georgians who voted to re-elect the Senator in November realize they endorsed an ally of the statist progressive-education establishment?

There are numerous problems with the idea that education should be designed for workforce development. First, the practical problems – how does the government predict what jobs will exist and what skills they’ll require when students graduate? How does the government determine which students will be interested in which jobs and therefore will need what type of training, especially since many students don’t decide on a career until early adulthood? (Georgia seeks to solve that problem by nudging students toward a “career pathway” as early as grade 6, an approach of self-evident madness.)

Progressive statists also argue that the 21st century changes everything, that it’s now insufficient to give students the classical education – great literature, mathematics, history, science, art – that schools used to offer. But if that education was so deficient, how did men and women who received it go on to establish empires, create breathtaking works of art, generate untold societal wealth, and land on the moon? A student trained for a particular type of job will flounder if he heads in a different direction; a student with a genuine education will be equipped to take on anything.

More profoundly, the workforce-development model ignores that students are human beings, not cogs in a machine. It is, as Professor Anthony Esolen says, “a vision which is strictly utilitarian, man with the soul amputated.” But this is what Common Core and workforce-developers have imposed.

Mrs. Robbins also clearly understands both the ineffectiveness and harm of these programs, as well as the lack of Constitutional authority for them:

It wasn’t clear if he meant requiring toddlers to be sent to preschool, or requiring states to offer such “early learning” to parents who want it.

But either interpretation is troubling. If the former, Isakson clearly isn’t familiar with the studies showing the ineffectiveness of or even harm done by taking little ones from their parents for hours every day. (Yes, some studies suggest otherwise, but experts such as pediatrician Dr. Karen Effrem have demonstrated why their conclusions are flawed. And even if the evidence is mixed, parents have the right to protect their children from any system that may not be in their best interests.) And if he merely meant the federal government should require states to offer preschool to willing participants, where is the federal authority to do that? The Constitution gives the federal government no role – none – in education policy, so Isakson’s suggestion that states should be “required” to do anything is anti-constitutional and therefore anti-conservative.

 

Preschool is seen by the nanny statists as a prime opportunity to begin the indoctrination process with social emotional learning such as teaching three year olds about gender identity.  This subjective and highly sensitive data is then put into a life-long data dossier that employers hope to be able to view to determine whether little Johnny and Susie are on their way to becoming the corporate cogs or “products” as described by our newly sworn in Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and so well explained by Jane Robbins.

 This is yet another critical area where parents will have to clearly and loudly state that to protect the hearts and minds of their children and their own autonomy as parents, they reject the dangerous phrase: “We are from the government and are here to help”!

Feb 12, 2017
ELW

ELW Written Testimony for the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking

 

 

The Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP) held its third public hearing on February 9th. This is the organization put into place after President Obama signed a bill authored by Speaker Paul Ryan. CEP is hearing testimony and being urged to recommend lifting the prohibition on a student-unit record system and other issues in order to make longitudinal data on individual American citizens more accessible to government agencies and researchers. Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project previously testified about the dangers of this idea.

All of the written and audio information from that hearing is available HERE. Dr. Effrem’s written testimony is available on that page at this link.

After covering the lack of constitutionality, the dangers inherent in the strong likelihood that subjective social emotional data will be added, the already  large amount of evidence that government education programs are very ineffective, and that data security in the US Department of Education is very weak, these were her recommendations:

1. Retain the prohibition of a student unit-record system.

2. Strongly consider a moratorium on further federal research until programs already shown to be ineffective and harmful are transformed or eliminated and until effective measures are actually implemented.

3. Prohibit social emotional data-gathering and the use of data for predictive testing in the FERPA and Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA) reauthorizations.

4. Put in strict data-transparency language and update the data-security language per the recommendations of technical experts like Dr. Joel Reidenberg or Barmak Nassirian in any FERPA reauthorization.

5. Require third-party software and testing vendors to notify parents of what data is collected on students and how it is used.

6. Find a way for students whose identity and privacy is compromised to be compensated, in addition to penalizing researchers or private vendors that breach data-security.

7. Close the curriculum and assessment loophole for invasive surveys in the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment.

8. Demand that the US Department of Education immediately repair the federal data-security failures found in the Inspector General’s recent report and uncovered by the House Oversight Committee.

It will be important to monitor the recommendations of this commission to Congress and to speak out against any suggestions harmful to citizen, and especially student, data and psychological privacy. Stay tuned.

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