November 5, 2016
Education and Common Core have received little national attention since the end of the presidential primary, but these crucial issues are making a resurgence in some Florida congressional races. Here are two important examples.
In District 18, that includes Martin and Palm Beach Counties, Brian Mast, a highly decorated munitions specialist who lost both legs in combat, is running on the Republican ticket. He strongly opposes Common Core and federal interference in education, saying on his website:
Washington should not be mandating curriculum for states, which is why I oppose Common Core. Each state should be a laboratory for innovation so that states compete with each other for the best results.
Mast's opponent, Democrat Randy Perkins, has made millions in government contracts for disaster clean-up. He echoes Hillary Clinton's platform of expanding expensive, intrusive government early childhood programs despite the fact that dozens of studies have shown them to be ineffective and or harmful. Perkins, like Clinton, also wants the federal government to provide low-cost college, even though our nation is $19 trillion in debt. His website mentions nothing about Common Core, which Democrat officials have called the "third rail" of politics.
Meanwhile, in District 9, near Orlando, veteran and businessman, Wayne Liebnitsky (left photo above) is also running on an anti-Common Core/EndFedEd platform, Read more
October 19, 2016
We are grateful to the Federalist for posting the latest article on social emotional learning from Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project and Dr. Effrem:
It is great that Georgia has joined Tennessee in withdrawing from the CASEL SEL standards movement, but sadly, CASEL is pushing on with a new effort detailed in the article along with a detailed discussion of the dangers of SEL.
This summer the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) announced it had chosen eight states to collaborate on creating K-12 "social emotional learning" (SEL) standards. All students, from kindergartners through high-school seniors, would be measured on five "non-cognitive" factors: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
Under such a system teachers become essentially therapists, and students become essentially patients. Supposedly this will clear away the psychological deadwood that obstructs a student's path to academic achievement.
But less than two months later, two of the CASEL states ( Read more
February 10, 2016
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Although there are several major problems with the reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) now called The Strengthening Research Through Education Act (S 227, SETRA), the most pressing and concerning is the expansion of federal education research to psychologically profile our children beginning in preschool:
Section 132 of the bill (page 28, line 16-21) inserts the following:
"and which may include research on social and emotional learning, and the acquisition of competencies and skills, including the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, evaluate evidence, and communicate effectively..." (Emphasis added).
Here are more of the many concerns:
1) Lack of Constitutionality - The federal government has no constitutional authority (Tenth Amendment) to be involved in education, much less doing research and collecting data on the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of our innocent children. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution says:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (Emphasis added).
Having the federal government sanction and fund psychological profiling of children is the worst kind of privacy invasion.
2) Subjectivity These parameters are admitted even by experts in the field to be extraordinarily subjective and difficult to define and measure. There is still no agreement about their meaning or even their Read more
July 3, 2015
Karen R. Effrem, MD Executive Director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition & President of Education Liberty Watch
Uncle Sam is lately wearing a white coat and placing American students on the psychiatrist's couch. The number of federal education bills, tests, programs and other policies promoting indoctrination and assessment of affective attitudes, beliefs, "mindsets," "non-cognitive skills" and other non-academic traits is rapidly and alarmingly proliferating. Here are the most recent and very concerning examples:
1) The Every Child Achieves Act (S 1177) This is the 792 page Senate version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. Some of the many examples of federal expansion of mental health screening in the schools include: Training teachers who are not mental health professionals to mentally screen student
Doing special education (IDEA)-style behavioral monitoring and intervention school-wide without delineation between observation, suggestion, and treatment nor clear methods of parental consent and privacy protection for behavioral information.
The federal government is promoting the concept that schools taking on the functions of families and physicians by paying for schools to provide mental health care
They are even putting mental health in physical education
2) The Student Success Act (HR 5) The House version of the ESEA/NCLB reauthorization expands affective testing by omission instead of commission and also continues mental health programs for certain groups: The rewrite of the section that discusses state standards, assessments and accountability leaves out the key protection that prohibits the federally mandated state tests that "evaluate or assess personal or family Read more
May 25, 2015
Here are brief descriptions of three great and important federal education bills that increase parental rights, state sovereignty, and local control. Then are three bills that dramatically increase federal control and destroy education data privacy as well as our children's freedom of conscience and the rights to be secure in their thoughts and attitudes without federally funded psychological profiling. Please review this information and ask your members of Congress by phone (www.house.gov/representatives and SENATORS RUBIO (202-224- 3041) AND NELSON (202-224-5274) to support the first three and oppose the second three:
BILLS TO SUPPORT AND PROMOTE :
1) Student Privacy Protection Act (SPPA) - S 1341: The text of this great bill sponsored by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is available HERE.
This legislation provides important protections in the following areas:
Rolling back the disastrous extra-congressional regulatory changes that vastly expanded access of third parties to our children's personally identifiable data, now limiting that access and requiring parental consent in all cases
Holding educational agencies, schools, and third parties liable for violations of the law through monetary fines, damages, and court costs
Prohibiting psychological or attitudinal profiling of students or gathering of sensitive family information via any assessments, including academic assessments or survey.
Extending data protections for homeschooled students required to submit educational data to public school districts
Prohibiting educational agencies, schools, and the Secretary of Education from including personally identifiable information obtained from Federal or Read more