April 12, 2016
More evidence continues to flood into the news showing the privacy dangers of student data collection, digital education, psychological profiling and career tracking. Below are two videos and excerpts that clarify this very well.
The first is a PBS News Hour discussion in their Making the Grade segment with Miami-Dade mom, researcher, blogger, and anti-Common Core warrior Suzette Lopez. Lopez's son's social security number was stolen. Here is the video followed by a partial transcript:
SUZETTE LOPEZ, Parent: I'm trying to protect my kids, and there's so much data collection that's going on right now that we we're not even aware of.
JOHN TULENKO: Suzette Lopez is a graphic designer who sends her children to Miami public schools.
SUZETTE LOPEZ: It's these third-party vendors that are what we're partnering with, that we're bringing them in. But then, how much oversight really is there with these partners? Who's keeping an eye on that data?
After teachers and students admitted that they go around the districts's security set-up all the time to download various apps, the reporter also interviewed a US attorney about how easy it was for a food service worker to log in and print out student social security number that she then used to set up fraudulent tax returns. This worker incident happened after the SSN of Lopez's son was stolen but the issues are the same. Lopez ontinues:
LOPEZ: My son's Social Security was stolen. So, it was stolen and it took three years to clear up and three years to keep telling the IRS that my son was my son.
In a related video
student privacy expert and law professor Dr. Joel Reidenberg of Fordham University also discussed the dangers of the amount of data regarding how a child interacts with education software and applications, called metadata. Here is that video followed by what we see as the most important quotes from the interview:
REIDENBERG: The worst that could happen is several forms of harm to children. Educational harm to children, where they are tracked or improperly labeled because of bad data practices.
"There has to be satisfactory remedies when children's information is misused. We have none today...Right now the sanction that exists in current law is totally ineffective. There's only one sanction in FERPA which is, the Federal Government can withhold funding to the school system if they're violating FERPA. In the 41 year history of the Statute, it has never happened."
It is imperative that you contact your member of the US House of Representatives
and ask for the following:
Vote No on SETRA, S 227 because it psychologically profiles children unless that provision is removed and there is real data privacy protection via a new FERPA law.
Do not vote to reauthorize FERPA unless the collection of social emotional data is prohibitied and there is real student data privacy protection.
Demand that the US Department of Education halt the plans to assess mindsets in the NAEP test next year because it violates one or more federal statutes and the Constitution.
April 7, 2016
We thank The Pulse 2016 for publishing Dr. Effrem's latest article on the role of education in the presidential election. This article has to do with businessman Donald Trump's answer to a a question about the roles of the federal government. Here is an excerpt:
However, Trump added to his long string of contradictions and dizzyingly rapid position changes during last Tuesday's presidential town hall on CNN. A combat veteran asked, "In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?" The tycoon responded that after security, the top functions of the federal government were education and health care. He then added housing. Here is the video of the exchange:
As is his pattern when questioned, Trump tried to walk his statement on education back a moment later, which turned into this steaming pile of incoherence:
ANDERSON COOPER: Aren't you against the federal government's involvement in education? Don't you want it to devolve to states?
DONALD TRUMP: I want it to go to state, yes. Absolutely. I want right now...
But then when Cooper followed up again:
COOPER: So that's not part of what the federal government's --
TRUMP: The federal government, but the concept of the country is the concept that we have to have education within the country, and we have to get rid of Common Core, and it should be brought to the state level.
Despite this, as with his idea to expand libel laws to go after journalists that say negative things about him, Mr. Trump again displayed his frightening lack of constitutional understanding. Obviously, government control of education, health care and housing are exactly the big government establishment solutions parents fighting Common Core and Fed Ed, conservatives, and Republicans all oppose. That philosophy is much closer to the positions of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on all three...
...For parents who have been fighting the battles against the Common Core -- and who have been bringing to light how those horrific standards are being used to psychologically manipulate, data mine and track their children into careers based on invasive, experimental tests that parents can never see, all based on federal law and policy -- Trump's statements are confusing and terribly disappointing. The federal government should have no role in education. And Donald Trump's lack of constitutional understanding, incoherence and rapid position shifts on this and many other issues should raise enormous red flags.
This constitutional confusion and /or illiteracy on education and other issues seems to have been problematic for him as he lost the Wisconsin primary by 13 points after being up significantly in the polls. After he likely wins his home state of New York, it will be interesting to see how the voters interact with him.