Karen R. Effrem, MD Executive Director
The following is a more detailed analysis of why congressional members' support of Senator David Vitter's (R-LA) privacy bill, the Student Privacy Protection Act (SPPA), S. 1341 is so important. This bill is the culmination of many discussions and the attentive listening of Senator Vitter with constituents, parents, pro-privacy attorneys and physicians, and others who have spent years fighting the data collection associated with the Common Core standards and aligned assessments and the mental screening of children. Here is important information that will show that this legislation is a major step forward in improving student data privacy and protecting students' freedom of conscience and freedom from government directed psychological profiling.SPPA Prohibits Psychological Screening: One of the most exciting parts of SPPA, especially for analysts and activists like the author, who has been fighting mental screening and the over-diagnosis and drugging of children as young as infancy for more than a decade, is the prohibition on psychological testing and the strengthening of the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment. After defining various terms, the bill does not merely require consent for mental screening and assessment or surveying of psychological attitudes with federal funds (a completely inappropriate federal activity), it fully prohibits psychological screening and profiling. The only exception is for special education evaluations, which is already current law. Significantly, the bill extends the prohibition of psychological screening and profiling to assessments, and thus would also ban the more horrific features of the Common Core assessments.Here is the key language of SPPA: ''(2) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds provided to the Department or Federal funds provided under any applicable program shall be spent to support any survey or academic assessment allowing any of the Read more
Senator David Vitter's Student Privacy Protection Act, (SPPA) - S1341, is creating quite a stir. As expected and despite the long list of supporting organizations, the crowd at the Data Quality Campaign which is heavily funded by pro-Common Core groups and anti-privacy corporations that stand to profit from access to our children's sensitive data, has attacked SPPA and lamented that Sen. Vitter's "intent is to respond to parents' concerns" (DQC meant this as a criticism!). In addition, the American Education Research Association, another group that makes its living on our children's data, is opposed. AERA's president said in an email, "This legislation, if it were to pass, would have a devastating impact on the quality of education research."Unexpectedly, however, a critique has arisen from a well-respected figure on the anti-Common Core side of the spectrum. This critique, though well intended and sincere, is based on a faulty factual and legal analysis. It is unfortunate that this opposition, coming as it does from someone who has done so much to advance the anti-Common Core and pro-privacy movement, may result in division among the parents and other citizens who have now been fighting these battles for years. SPPA is acknowledged by privacy experts to be by far the most protective legislation in existence. It is critical that our movement work with Sen. Vitter to perfect and advance this bill. In the face of the withering onslaught from our opponents, we cannot let a valuable advance be thwarted by friendly fire.Therefore, after having been closely involved in the discussions that led to the drafting of SPPA, Education Liberty Watch President, Dr. Karen Effrem and American Principles in Action Senior Fellow, Jane Robbins have assembled this respectful disagreement with and response to this critique. (See this link also).Although the critique mentions numerous concerns to which Effrem and Robbins respond, the major ones revolve around expansion instead of Read more
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 State agencies through data matches in student data.
Banning Federal education funds to states or districts that film, record, or monitor students or teachers in the classroom or remotely without parent or adult student and teacher consent.
We are grateful to Sandra Stotsky for her very cogent analysis and for cutting through the doubletalk in this memo from the US House leadership on HR 5, The Student Success Act. This kind of work as well as analysis by many groups across the nation helped to put the bill on hold temporarily.
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
The US House Education and Workforce Committee amended and passed its Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind six hundred plus page reauthorization bill on February 11th. (Video, Bill and amendment language are available here). It passed on a straight party line vote and is scheduled to be debated on the House floor on February 24th. The Obama White has already issued a paper criticizing the bill, as well as a veto threat.Ideally this massive, unconstitutional, ineffective and expensive law would be repealed and the Department of Education would be closed. Sadly, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Dr. Sandra Stotsky and other friends and experts in the movement issued a statement calling for a major elimination of mandates.The bill, called The Student Success Act (HR5) was described by committee member and former Alabama State School Board member Bradley Byrne as "a step in the right direction, but still has far to go," because the federal government "needs a large dose of humility" when it comes to education. We agree!However, while we oppose this bill as a whole, before discussing the significant issues of concern, it is important to congratulate and thank Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and the committee members that supported good language and fought off bad amendments. Here are the highlights: The bill contains language found in an anti-Common Core, anti-Federal interference bill call the Local Control of Education Act, HR 524 by committee member Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and co-sponsored by Florida Republican Reps. Curt Clawson, Tom Rooney, Ron DeSantis, and Ted Yoho, as well as 43 others. This language prevents the Secretary of Education from "incentivizing" or "coercing" national standards like Common Core or and national test like SBAC or PARCC in any federal law or program like waivers. It is important for preventing future disasters like Common Core.
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