FSCCC recently joined over 100 national and state organizations in signing a letter to Congress strongly urging an overhaul to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law overseeing student privacy. It is incredibly important to fix FERPA and protect student data and psychological privacy as we have seen on multiple occasions in the recent past:
The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal is affecting students and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is testing and planning to manipulate the same personality traits in students involved in the Facebook dust-up.
Just this week, there was another major scandal with Pearson committing psychological experiments on college students without consent.
The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development is pushing for social emotional learning (SEL) to be involved in school safety issues, which will not help.
Mental screening programs with all of their subjectivity and inaccuracy are starting to pop up all over the country, such as those discussed in Texas.
Efforts to increase data sharing with corporations, researchers and among federal agencies without consent in Congress through the Foundations for Evidence-based Policy Making Act (FEPA) and the College Transparency Act (CTA) are also being pushed by the data grabbers.
Here is the link to the full letter. Please use it to contact your members of Congress and congressional candidates. so that we may protect the privacy and minds of our children and our freedoms as Americans.
Formal comments on Florida's consolidated plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) were submitted by Dr. Karen Effrem, FSCCC's executive director.There were two strong points of agreement with the Department's plan: Seeking a waiver from the 95% testing mandate
Not using subjective psychosocial criteria as the "any other factor" in the accountability scheme.
There were also several points of disagreement that included: Continued use of the Common Core standards rebranded as the Florida Standards and AIR's FSA as the state test.
Receiving federal funds for ineffective, psyhologically invasive, privacy harming programs under Title IV, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (AKA Parent Replacement Centers) and the safe and healthy schools programs that include a lot of psychological monitoring and data gathering, including by teachers that are already overburdened and not formally trained for this type of activity.
FSCCC hopes that Florida will reappropriate its 10th Amendment right to control education. We strongly agree with American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins, who said in a recent article:
This chatter illustrates a deeper problem. Over the last 50 years, state education establishments and their auxiliary politicians have developed a Washington-dependent mindset. State educrats continually tell parents, for example, that the Common Core standards can't be ditched because what else would Washington approve? What else could we possibly use? And what about assessments? Heaven forbid we implement our own testing policy, because surely Washington knows best. We must seek permission from Washington to make any changes that push the ESSA envelope. Is it worth risking our federal money to venture from the tried-and-(un)true?Obviously, ESSA restricts both USED and the states. But USED could do much more to achieve the "liberation" that Alexander claims Congress intended. For Read more
In the recent analysis of the DeVos nomination, it was mentioned that T74, a DeVos Family Foundation funded website published a critique of Jane Robbins's and Dr. Effrem's Federalist article warning of the dangers of social emotional learning (SEL) and that the author's employer had connections to many pro-Common Core and SEL groups: The T74, a pro-Common Core education blog funded by the DeVos Family Foundation carried a post attacking the Federalist article written by Jane Robbins and myself as the "journalistic equivalent of yelling 'fire' in a theater" without substantively answering our concerns. The author works at Bellwether Education Partners, whose partners include (surprise, surprise) DeVos' PR [Philanthropy Roundtable], Bush's FEE [Now called ExelinEd], and the Gates Foundation, all major supporters of Common Core and of SEL.
Here is an extensive excerpt of the rebuttal to that misguided critique published in the Federalist today: In response to our recent article in The Federalist exposing the dangers of so-called social emotional learning (SEL), Allison Crean Davis argues that parents have nothing to fear from governmental monitoring and manipulation of their children's psychological states. Writing for a new organization called The 74 (funded by the DeVos Family Foundation), she urges that Americans wait for the "iterative march of science" (no, we don't know what that means either) to help us figure out the best way to implement and measure SEL in schools.At the outset Davis likens SEL to Common Core: a "promising, well-intended initiative" that should be given a chance to work. Now there's a comparison that will ease parents' minds.It's also interesting that she wants education to be more like medicine, yet bemoans the fact that benighted parents didn't wait for the "research" to come out on Common Core before opposing it. If the Common Core scheme had followed the pattern of medical research, the standards would have been tested on small Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
President-elect Donald Trump has selected Michigan billionaire; Republican mega-donor, and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education. The corporate, big government Republican establishment, such as Jeb Bush, his Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, as well as groups that have received her large contributions, are thrilled with her appointment. Key education freedom leaders like Frank Cannon, president of the American Principles Project who called her a "very Jeb-like pick"; Joy Pullman, managing editor of The Federalist; and grassroots parent anti-Common Core groups in Michigan, Oklahoma, we here in Florida, and around the nation are justifiably concerned.Understanding her future boss' promise to get rid of Common Core, as well as how fatal it was to the presidential campaigns of her friend and fellow FEE board member, Jeb Bush, whom she supported, and others that Donald Trump beat, she put out a hastily constructed statement on Twitter and her website the day she was appointed, alleging her opposition to Common Core, stating that she is "not a supporter-period," because it had turned into a "federalized boondoggle":Here are several important things to know about DeVos based on her rhetoric quoted above; her record as documented by the Stop Common Core in Michigan parents who have experienced her brand of education reform firsthand, and other sources.1) DeVos used Jeb Bush's "high standards" euphemism for Common Core Her mention of "high standards" in her website statement and the report of having discussed "higher national standards" in the Trump Transition Team readout of her November 19th meeting with the president-elect, are identical to Jeb Bush's efforts to deflect criticism of his Common Core support before and during his failed presidential campaign right down to the "Period.": Education Next: You have been a steadfast Read more
Friday's 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: Gender identity refers to an individual's internal sense of gender. A person's gender identity may be different from or the same as the person's sex assigned at birth.
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: "Refers to a person's internal, deeply felt sense of being either male or female, or something other or in between. Because gender identity is internal and personally defined, it is not visible to others." (Emphasis added)
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: Transgendered Students
Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Read more
After only hearing the news the day they were due due to the holidays and travel, Dr. Karen Effrem submitted comments on January 4th in response to the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Education joint and very Orwellian "family engagement" policy framework. Here is a summary of the issues discussed: Parents are not just "equal partners," they "own the store" when it comes to raising their children Although the document says on page one that "Families are children's first and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers" on page 1, it does not clearly set forth the preeminent role of parents in the education and upbringing of their children. Based on Pierce vs. Society of Sisters, Troxel vs Granville, and Meyers vs. Nebraska to name a few seminal Supreme Court decisions that have affirmed the constitutional right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, the pervasive language in this document that parents are mere partners with government or that government programs are to perform "parenting interventions" is extremely disturbing and unacceptable.
Promotion of government home visiting programs Based on this agency's own research, these programs are extraordinarily ineffective in two of the major areas that they are alleged to help: a) Prevention of Child Maltreatment: For primary measures in the studies reviewed where there was data listed, only 15/75 parameters (20%) showed a positive effect while 60/75 parameters (80%) showed no effect and there were many programs not studied. b) Child Development and School Readiness: For primary measures in the studies reviewed where there was data listed, only 77/448 parameters (17%) showed a positive effect while 362/448 parameters (82%) showed no effect, 3/448 parameters (1%) showed a negative or ambiguous effect, and there were many programs not studied.
Focus on social emotional parameters and data for young children It is the epitome of Read more
Karen R. Efrem, MD - Executive Director
The House Education and Workforce Committee put out an infographic trying to convince their members that the 1061 page monstrosity released only about 48 hours before the final vote to rewrite No Child Left Behind is a Republican "win." They are trying to make their members feel okay about throwing our children to the Common Core beast and ignoring more than 200 parent groups in 46 states and instead listening to the Washington Cartel education elites and corporate raiders. Here are their claims followed by the truth. 1) CLAIM: Places new and unprecedented restrictions on the sec. of educationTRUTH: There is no enforcement mechanism for any of these restrictions and the sec. of education still has veto power over the state plans that still mandate standards and assessments similar to Common Core. (Details HERE) 2) CLAIM: Prohibits the sec. of education from forcing, coercing, or incentivizing states into adopting Common CoreTRUTH: ESSA heavily influences standards within the bill itself. This requirement to have the standards comply with 11 different unconstitutional federal statutes setting up standards similar to Common Core will be statutory a state must comply with it regardless of what the Secretary does or doesn't do. (Details HERE) 3) CLAIM: Ends the era of federally mandated high-stakes testsTRUTH: Tests are still federally mandated along with 95% participation with no opt-out clause as was present in the House bill. There are new mandates for the tests to be psychologically profiling "higher order thinking skills" and "strategies to improve students' skills outside the academic subject areas." This is combined with new evidence of lax student data protection. 4) CLAIM: Eliminates the federally mandated one-size-fits-all accountability systemTRUTH: While it is an improvement that AYP is gone, the mandates for what states must include in their accountability systems are still very Read more
Many thanks to Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project for co-authoring and The Pulse 2016 for publishing Dr. Effrem's article titled: Nanny State Preschool Expansion -- Another Reason the ESEA Rewrite Should Be Voted Down. Here is an excerpt: A host of other large studies using data on thousands of children shows the same pattern of ineffectiveness, fadeout, and/or harm. The most recent is a multi-year controlled study from Tennessee, Senator Alexander's home state, about which Education Week reported the following conclusions:
". . . Children started off school strong, but by kindergarten were generally indistinguishable academically from comparable peers who did not enroll in the program" and "by 3rd grade the children who attended pre-K were performing worse on some academic and behavioral measures than similar classmates who were never in the program."
Even results from the one study that purports to show long-term benefit are still described as "dismal" in the mainstream press. There is simply no persuasive research to countervail this massive evidence.But politicians and the education establishment cling to the concept of preschool. Advocates of Common Core and other progressive-education philosophies want to extend government tentacles to ensnare ever younger children. The managed economy and managed society can be achieved more quickly if toddlers are removed from their homes and herded into government preschool, where the uncontrolled influences of parents, families, and religion can be replaced with others more likely to advance government goals.What should be done instead? Perhaps listen to researchers such as Dr. William Jeynes of UC-Santa Barbara, who identified three of several important factors that significantly improve the performance of minority students relative to white students (closing the "achievement gap"): intact families and religious faith, phonics instruction, and real parental involvement. Having Read more
The US House of Representatives completed the consideration of their version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) currently called No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on July 8th. This process began in February but was halted thanks to the great opposition by all of us working together - parents, teachers and other citizens that oppose the ever expanding federal role in education.While this bill is definitely much better than the Senate Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), it still has many fatal flaws. (See also HERE). These include: Cementing of Common Core via the requirement in state plans that must be approved by the secretary that states have college and career ready standards
Continuation of the federal mandate of annual tests with their continued psychological profiling and data mining
Removal of the prohibition on attitudinal profiling in the mandated statewide tests
No real enforcement mechanism for states that are bullied by federal interference in standards or tests such as Common Core
The vote was a very narrow 218-213 with every single Democrat opposing the bill due to not enough federal control but ultimately doing the right thing and 27 Republicans opposing it due to still too much control. We thank all who voted against this bill, but especially mention and thank the Republicans who were courageous enough to stand against their leadership in order to support the rights of students, parents, teachers, and local school districts over corporations and the federal government. We especially thank the Florida delegation who had the most no votes of any state in the country - Republicans Clawson, DeSantis, Miller, and Yoho and Democrats: Graham, Brown, Grayson, Castor, Murphy, Hastings, Deutch, Frankel, Wasserman Schultz, and Wilson. : Amash (MI) Graves (LA) Meadows (NC)
Brooks (AL) Graves (MO) Miller (FL)
Buck (C0) Hice (GA) Rohrbacher (CA) < Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Sadly, despite clear and detailed warnings from parents, teachers, activists, and policy experts, the US Senate passed its rewrite of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) called The Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA S1170) on July 16th by a vote of 81-17. Three Democrats voted against the bill because of not enough government control, but nonetheless did the right thing. It is extremely clear that big government and big business interests, who are supporting pro-Common Core candidates like Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Hillary Clinton, are colluding to cement federal control over American education.We would like to thank the following senators for their opposition votes to the overall bill: NAYs --17
Blunt (R-MO)Booker (D-NJ)Crapo (R-ID)Cruz (R-TX)Daines (R-MT)Flake (R-AZ) Lee (R-UT)Moran (R-KS)Murphy (D-CT)Paul (R-KY)Risch (R-ID)Rubio (R-FL) Sasse (R-NE)Scott (R-SC)Shelby (R-AL)Vitter (R-LA)Warren (D-MA)
Florida's other US Senator Bill Nelson did not vote on the bill or any amendments as he is recovering from cancer surgery. We wish him well.Three of the five presidential candidates in the Senate Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted no. Bernie Sanders (I-VT, a member of the Socialist Party running for president as a Democrat) voted for the bill. The fifth, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), did not vote. Senator Sanders offered one amendment on youth unemployment that was rejected (see below). Senators Rubio and Graham did not offer any amendments to the bill, nor did they make any statements about it afterwards. Here are the statements of Cruz, Paul, and Sanders: Cruz: "While this bill makes some improvements to the status quo, it ultimately falls short of empowering parents and local school districts. To that end, it is a missed opportunity for meaningful change."Decisions regarding our children's future should be placed in the Read more
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