Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Note: All emphasis in quotes is added and an online PDF version of this document is available HERE.
1) SB 1714 presumes district-wide implementation of the CBE program well before the results of the pilot program are in (see lines 39-41).
2) According to the Gates Foundation website, there is Gates grant money for this type of program in Lake ($7 million) and Pinellas Counties ($3.3 million), but not for Palm Beach and Seminole. Will state or country taxpayers or both have to pick up the slack to fund these expensive, technology-driven programs?
3) The Gates Foundation and technology based education programs in general have a long track record of failure This pilot is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that also gave $100 million to Hillsborough County to reform teacher evaluation and pay with the county required to bring in additional $100 million, but the county's cost rose to $124 million and the program is being dismantled after largely failing.
Los Angeles wasted $1.3 billion on iPads for every student that were to be loaded with Common Core software that was a Gates-Pearson joint effort that were utterly unusable and resulted in FBI investigations for bid rigging.
Baltimore is embarking on a similar misguided $270 million endeavor where the superintendent took a consulting job with a related company after awarding that company a large contract
No evidence that either teaching or assessing online works and some evidence that it does not given the recent news that PARCC assessment scores were lower for those students taking the tests on computers than those taking them on paper. We are also all aware of the many significant technical problems with AIR in Florida and numerous other states.
Before moving into the Race to the Top and Common Core effort, the Gates Smaller Read more
Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Rand Paul (KY) earned the best grades of A- while not surprisingly, former Governor Jeb Bush and current Ohio Governor John Kasich received failing grades for their positions and actions on Common Core. The graded review of 16 Republican candidates was done by the American Principles in Action group. The full report card is available HERE.
The report was based on how well candidates by their statements and actions have answered three questions: 1.) Have they spoken out and acted against Common Core?
Statements opposing Common Core must acknowledge that the standards are of low-quality, fail to meet the expectations of high-performing countries, and contain language that controls the curriculum and instructional methods used in the classroom. Recognition of these deficiencies is central in determining whether a candidate's actions have been a sincere effort to replace the Common Core with high standards or to simply rebrand it under another name.
2.) Do they understand and have they made a specific commitment to protect state and local control of education from further federal intrusion?
In particular, we are looking for candidates who understand how the federal government intrudes onto state decision-making and who advocate for structural changes to prevent such intrusions. Moreover, the candidate must understand that the intended division of power between the federal government and the state is meant to ensure that people can shape state and local policies. He must understand how the breakdown of that division destroyed the safeguards that could have, and likely would have, prevented Common Core.
3.) What efforts has the candidate made to protect student and family privacy interests against the rising demands of industry and central planners for more personal student data?
Such interests include the right of parents to control what type of information is collected (e.g., 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) 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:
Flake (R-AZ) Lee (R-UT)
Rubio (R-FL) Sasse (R-NE)
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:
"While this bill makes some improvements to the status quo, it ultimately falls short of empowering parents and local school Read more
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 Read more
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 beliefs and attitudes." This was one of the few good pieces of language in No Child Left Behind.
Title I funding includes funding for coordination of all sorts Read more