News

FSCCC & 10 Other Florida Groups Seek Student Data & Psychological Privacy Protection from Congress April, 2018

A letter signed by over 100 organizations, both nationally and in 31 states, including 11 Florida groups led by The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC), called on Congress to rewrite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).This letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee, these organizations strongly urged Congress to recognize that it is not the role or right of government to probe a child's most personal and sensitive attributes, as well as to protect the property interest that citizens have in their personal data.
"General education and labor databases should not be collecting and storing sensitive, subjective social, emotional, psychological and behavioral data," said Dr. Karen Effrem, a pediatrician, executive director of FSCCC, and president of Education Liberty Watch. "Psychological data related to behavioral, mental health, or special education concerns should be gathered after informed consent and treated with the same care and confidentiality as medical data, with appropriate sharing with law enforcement as needed under current statutes. If this had been done in the Parkland situation, that horrific tragedy could have been avoided."

"Personal data collection without consent is an affront to freedom," said Emmett McGroarty, senior fellow at American Principles Project and co-author of the new book, Deconstructing the Administrative State: The Fight for Liberty. "The federal government has no right or read more

Please Thank Members of the Florida Delegation that Voted Against the Disastrous Federal Omnibus Bill March, 2018

Despite the fiscal dangers and many upside down priorities, especially in education, Congress passed by a House vote of 256-197 and a Senate vote of 65-32, the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that the president reluctantly signed.

Both Florida senators voted YEA. Please thank the following Florida members of the U.S. House that voted NAY:

Carlos Curbelo (R)

Ron DeSantis (R)

Matt Gaetz (R)

Al Lawson (D)

Brian Mast (R)

BIll Posey (R)

Darren Soto (D)

Daniel Webster (R)

Ted Yoho (R)
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FSCCC & Eight Other FL Groups Sign National Letter to Congress on Student Data Privacy July, 2017

FSCCC and eight other Florida groups signed a letter from national parent coalition of national, state and local organizations concerned about student data and psychological privacy after a recent U.S. House hearing on the topic. We are grateful to the nine participating Florida organizations:
Laurie Bartlett, President - The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition
Randy Osborne, Director of Education - Florida Eagle Forum
Meredith Mears, Debbie Higginbotham, Stacie Clarke, Co-founders - FLParentsRISE Randy Osborne Director, Nehemiah Project
Catherine Baer, Chair The Tea Party Network
Charlotte Greenbarg, President - Independent Voices for Better Education, Inc.
Randy Osborne, Director - Florida Government Watch
Keith Flaugh, Managing Director and Rick Stevens - Florida Citizens Alliance
John Nelson, Chairman and Bob Gilmore, Vice Chairman - The Highlands Tea Party
Joseph T. Doyle, MD, Director - Collier Citizens for Student Privacy and Safety
The following email was sent to the Education and Workforce Committee: Dear Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member Scott, Chairman Rokita, and Ranking Member Polis and the Education & Workforce Committee,

Thank you for holding the recent hearing on federal education research & privacy. Please see the following link to a national parent coalition letter containing the views, concerns and recommendations regarding student data and psychological privacy after the June 28th read more

FSCCC & Common Ground Testify to House Subcommittee on NAEP Proficiency Issue & Other Costs in HB 773 March, 2017

FSCCC and Common Ground testified about the very significant costs associated with HB 773 (SB 926) in the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee on March 28th , especially the devastating costs of the NAEP proficiency language. Video of the hearing is available HERE, with discussion of this bill beginning at 51:20. What follows are the prepared remarks of Dr. Karen Effrem, Marie Clare Leman, and Catherine Baer about different aspects of this very costly bill:
Dr. Karen Effrem (1:06:20)
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am also with Common Ground and I am here to bring up a very important and what I hope is an unintended consequence of this bill.

According to the staff analysis and Amendment 1, this bill has a fiscal impact of $1, 247, 251 in recurring General Revenue funds to implement Section 2 of the bill. One of the major provisions of Section 2 is the cost for the effects of tying proficiency levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also called the NAEP to Level 3 on the Florida Standards Assessment or FSA. We believe that this appropriation vastly under states the costs that will result. The NAEP only assess grades four, eight and twelve. This would require extrapolation of NAEP's proficiency levels to other grades, including educator and reactor panels and significant deliberation, which would incur significant costs.

However, these costs will pale in comparison to the recurrent read more

Thanks to You SB 926 is Postponed: Media Round-up March, 2017

Thanks to your great efforts, SB 926, the so-called "Fewer, Better Tests" bill that doesn't actually remove any tests, was postponed amidst a flurry of late-filed amendment that no one had a chance to read. Common Ground and individual members were featured prominently in several media reports. Here are some excerpts:

Allison Neilsen of Sunshine State News - Fate of 'Fewer, Better Tests' Proposal Uncertain After Senate Committee Shelves Bill

On the whole, SB 926 has been sharply criticized by parent groups and lawmakers, who have called the bill "useless."

"[The bill] does not truly eliminate any tests, so it's a big misnomer but even more concerning is language in it that ties proficiency on FSA to the NAEP," Florida Stop Common Core Coalition executive director Karen Effrem told Sunshine State News. It will actually do grievous harm and it will be hugely expensive in human and financial terms."

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, who sponsors rival legislation to actually eliminate some tests in Florida, agreed.

"That bill has great talking points, but if you read it, it does nothing," Lee has said. "It's very, very important that we have legislation that matches our talking points, and that when we go home and we say we did something to effect change, that we actually did that."

Opponents have also criticized SB 926 for tying Florida Standards Assessment cut scores beyond grade level proficiency by linking read more

URGENT! PLEASE CONTACT THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE ON TESTING BILLS! March, 2017

Details are below, but the Bush Foundation for Florida's Future bill carried by Senator Flores will not only NOT eliminate any tests, but it will drastically increase the failure rates, affecting school grades and property values. Senator Montford's SB 964 genuinely eliminates tests, and helps teachers, parents and students.

ALSO PLEASE SEE OUR PRESS RELEASE & OUR FACT SHEET ON THESE BILLS.
Please tell the Committee: I strongly oppose SB 926 as currently written. The NAEP proficiency language and competency based education language must be fixed or the bill should be voted down. I strongly support SB 964. Please hear it in committee and vote for it.

Senator Wilton Simpson (R) Acting Chairman
District: (352) 540-6074 Tally: (850) 487-5010

Vice Chair: Senator Debbie Mayfield (R)
District: (321) 409-2025 Tally: (850) 487-5017

Senator Gary M. Farmer, Jr. (D)
District: (954) 467-4227 Tally: (850) 487-5034

Senator Bill Galvano (R)
District: (941) 741-3401 Tally: (850) 487-5021

Senator Tom Lee (R)
District: (813) 653-7061 Tally: (850) 487-5020

Senator David Simmons (R)
District: (407) 262-7578 Tally: (850) 487-5009

Senator Linda Stewart (D)
District: (407) 893-2422 Tally: (850) 487-5013

Senator Perry E. Thurston, Jr. (D)
District: (954) 321-2705 Tally: (850) 487-5033

Senator Anitere Flores (R) New Member
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More Evidence of CBE Failure: Lake County Considering Stopping Program March, 2017


Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
As with other Bill Gates Foundation boondoggles, the personalized or competency based learning grant program we warned against last year may not be funded by Lake County now that the three years of grant funding has almost run out. As the Daily Commercial describes it, there are inconsistent test scores for the very high cost of $2.5 million per year:

The latest data on the new learning method released in 2016 compared Florida Standard Assessment scores and FCAT science scores for students in personalized-learning classes in third through 10th grades with those enrolled in traditional classes.
In some personalized-learning classes, the test scores far exceeded the district average, but in others, the proficiency level was below the school and district average.

Personalized learning, which gives students a voice and choice in the learning process, was funded for the past three years from a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The School Board must now decide whether to continue funding it to the tune of $2.5 million a year because almost all the grant funding has been spent.



The Lake County Superintendent and several school board members all have significant and justifiable doubts about the program's viability:
"I want to evaluate every program, including personalized learning to ensure we are getting the read more

FINAL DEVOS CONFIRMATION VOTE TUESDAY 2/7 AT NOON! PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL SENATOR RUBIO February, 2017

After skating by with a one vote margin in her HELP Committee confirmation vote, two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME), have announced their opposition to her confirmation. Unless another Republican joins them, the vote will be 50-50 and the tie will be broken by Vice-President Pence. Besides Michelle Malkin , Susan Berry at Breitbart, Jane Robbins , and Joy Pullman at the Federalist, there has been near silence in the media. DeVos and the Jeb Bush team being placed at USED will undermine the Trump education promises to the grassroots parents. Please send the talking points HERE or in this document to:

Senator Marco Rubio: 202-224-3041 @MarcoRubio

One of the more disturbing newer pieces of information is DeVos' funding of pro-Islamic curriculum:
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Effrem Report on DeVos Hearing & Vote Delay Covered by Breitbart January, 2017

Dr. Susan Berry of Breitbart News covered several major policy analysts' and activists' comments on the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing as she also announced that the final U.S. Senate HELP Committee vote was delayed until January 31st due to significant concerns with one of DeVos' many complicated financial holdings:

The Office of Government Ethics released its report for DeVos after her hearing last Tuesday. One of the concerns reported by the NYT [New York Times] is that while DeVos said she had stepped down from the board of Neurocore, a Michigan company that operates biofeedback "brain performance centers" that offer alternative treatment for children and adults with diagnoses of attention deficit disorder and autism, she says she will still keep her financial interest in the company, valued at between $5 million to $25 million...

..."This is not an appropriate investment for the secretary of education," Richard W. Painter, an ethics adviser to former President George W. Bush, reportedly told the NYT...

Here are some quotes from Dr. Effrem that parallel our report on the hearing:
Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Florida-based Education Liberty Watch, observes to Breitbart News there was only one mention of the Common Core standards during DeVos' hearing, during a question posed by Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, who asked DeVos if she intended to coerce Common Core in the states. The nominee answered, "No."
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Dr. Effrem Presents FSCCC Legislative Agenda at the Charlotte County Legislative Delegation Meeting January, 2017

Here are the prepared remarks that Dr. Karen Effrem presented to the Charlotte County Legislative Delegation Meeting in Port Charlotte yesterday:

Good morning members of the Charlotte County delegation. I am Dr. Karen Effrem, a wife and mother of three and I am here on behalf of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, an organization made up of more than 50 groups from all over the state.
The Common Core, widely admitted to be rebranded as the Florida standards, have failed. Besides being academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate and psychologically manipulative:
They have not improved education outcomes in Florida or the nation, with falling or stagnant SAT, ACT, NAEP TIMMSand PISA scores.

The confusing Common Core Math techniques, "close reading" and the virtual elimination of fiction reading from classrooms are destroying children's love of learning and driving parents crazy

The standards are tied to assessments that are not useful in guiding instruction, developmentally inappropriate, time consuming, secretive, not fully validated and excessively expensive. Teaching to the test narrows the curriculum and online testing actually decreases learning time.

The Common Core aligned and constant Competency Based Education online testing, data collection and psychological profiling alarm and outrage parents.

Both long-standing and new research shows that 3rd grade retention is harmful and read more

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