Karen R. Effrem,MD - Executive Director
Betsy DeVos at her January 17th confirmation hearing - Photo Credit to Caffeinated Thoughts
I strongly agree with Shane Vander Hart at Caffeinated Thoughts that Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Education was not terribly informative. Aside from a brief mention of Common Core by Senator Cassidy (R-LA) where she said she wouldn't mandate it from the secretarial level and her answer to a question from Senator Alexander (R-TN, chairman of the HELP Committee holding the hearing) that she wouldn't implement school choice from the federal level, none of the major concerns in our national parent coalition letter about Common Core, privacy, and school choice were asked or answered.
Here is a brief discussion of several issues that did come up and those that should be closely monitored during her control of the U.S. Department of Education:
Common Core Mrs. DeVos answered Senator Cassidy's brief yes or no question, that she would not continue Common Core from the federal level. it is interesting that she said in her prepared opening statement:
And every teacher in America dreams of breaking free from standardization, so that they can deploy their unique creativity and innovate with their students.
If she wants teachers to "break free from standardization" how is it that she has supported national standards and standardized tests that require "standardized" teaching for so long?
However, as stated in numerous writings by many anti-Common Core experts and activists, the foundation of the Every Student Succeeds Act mandates the Common Core by imposing secretarial veto of state plans and requiring states' compliance with eleven different federal laws all mandating statewide standards and tests that are Common Core even if not labeled such. How she implements ESSA will be critical.
Federal School Choice While it was somewhat reassuring Read more
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