School choice is becoming a very hot topic in education circles with the likely ascendancy of Betsy DeVos to the position of Secretary of Education in the new Trump administration. Because so many are pursuing the noble goal of trying to help poor children escape from failing public schools, they do not or will not see the dangers of these programs to private and even home school autonomy.
Education Liberty Watch has been trying to warn of these dangers for several years and is honored to be working beside tremendous organizations like Eagle Forum and the Cato Institute to raise this alarm.
Eagle Forum just published an article by FSCCC executive director, Dr. Karen Effrem, discussing this work. Here is an excerpt:
In 2012, we published the School Choice Freedom Grading Scale. States like New Hampshire and Georgia that had accountability directly to parents scored A+ grades while states like Indiana and Louisiana that imposed the state standardized tests on entire private schools received failing grades.
The ever brilliant education analyst and conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly instantly understood the dangers of both Common Core and these alleged school choice plans to private school autonomy. Shortly after having the honor of presenting our Grading Scale at her wonderful 2012 Eagle Council meeting, she wrote these insightful words in her weekly column, titled Like ObamaCare, Obama Core Is Another Power Grab:
The Obama Core advocates are even planning to impose their standards on private schools. As the school choice movement grows, the attempt will be made to force any private or charter school that accepts public funds to adopt Common Core standards and have their students take the national tests. (Emphasis added).
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 (Tennessee and Georgia) have withdrawn from the initiative. Parents have begun to realize the dangers of SEL and to challenge their schools' lemming-like march toward psychological manipulation of children.
Competency based education (CBE), also called proficiency based education programs are metastisizing all over the country, including in Florida where there is a bill for a pilot program (HB 1365 Ray Rodriguez/ SB 1714 Brandes) They are the next step in converting America's education system away from academic education and towards psychosocially-based workforce skills in the vision of Marc Tucker of the National Center for Education and the Economy. The infamous 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton envisioned a plan:
"to remold the entire American system" into "a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone," coordinated by "a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and "job matching" will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based program."
Here is a brief summary of grave concerns regarding competency-based or proficiency-based education
There is no agreed upon definition of competency-based education and great subjectivity of program elements
There appears to be an emphasis on low-level workforce skills and behavioral/psychological parameters instead of academic knowledg
The psychosocial teaching and profiling of students has many concerns related to privacy guaranteed under the 4 th amendment, freedom of thought, subjectivity and validit
Extensive data mining and sharing with third party vendors and the federal government without parental consent including for digital badges that results in much sensitive data being shared with third party vendors also without consent
Florida's data privacy law is based in the 40 year old, already weak federal FERPA law that has been gutted via regulatory fiat by the current administratio
Horrific data security for data housed by the US Dept. of Ed evidenced after two US House Oversight Committee Read more