By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Stop Common Core www.stopcommoncore.com is an organization of concerned parents and teachers opposed to Common Core Standards for several reasons. The gutting of privacy laws that protect our children’s information from snooping bureaucrats is a major concern. Race to the Top (RTTT) requires states to provide over 400 date points for each child. The data includes testing, religion, and disciplinary action among other things. The US Department of Education (USDE) through the testing consortia PARCC is violating privacy laws to assemble a vast database packed with information about American students. USDE plans to share this information with the Department of Labor. Some experts estimate the cost of the mandatory test component of the Common Core Standard could reach $16 Billion. It is anticipated that Pearson and Microsoft would be big beneficiaries of all of this testing and data capture. But why does the government need all of this information, and why share it with the Department of Labor?
The people at Stop Common Core believe that the end game is to provide human capital for the global labor market. In this scenario, government would manage the economy and provide labor for the entities that the government determines. This approach is very similar to how the Soviets and the Nazis pre-selected children to fulfill the future that the government planned. The Soviets used to call this a GOSPLAN. In this vision, the individual exists to serve the government. Stop Common Core believes that this vision is in sharp contrast to the traditional American approach to education where a child learns individual responsibility, and is endowed by our Constitution with individual liberty to pursue his or her dreams.
The USDE vision is embodied in this revealing MSNBC news clip.
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Utahns Against Common Core share the same concerns about testing and privacy as the Stop Common Core group. Hee is a statement from the Utah website:
SAGE is the acronym for the common core testing system that will be collecting data from our children.
I think it’s important for all of us to know before the meeting what SAGE is and it’s implications for our children, our privacy, and our school district.
Student Assessment for Growth and Excellence (“SAGE”) is being developed for Utah by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). SAGE is Utah’s comprehensive adaptive assessment system, or the testing mechanism that will replace the CRTs. It is designed to replace and expand UTIPS, and provides the test delivery and administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
So, who is AIR? AIR is not an academic assessment company – it is a behavioral research organization. AIR has been around for over 60 years. Their founder, John Flanagan, a psychologist, started AIR by developing the “critical incident technique” one of the most widely used behavioral methods that is even now used in assessment models today.
In 1960, AIR initiated “Project Talent,” a research project administered by John Flanagan and a group of other behavioral scientists involving 440,000 high school students, collecting information on “aptitudes, abilities, knowledge, interests, activities, and backgrounds” of each student. These questions included questions about “hobbies, organizational and club memberships, dating and work experiences. There were questions about students’ health and about their school and study habits. Students were asked about their fathers’ occupations, parents’ education, financial situations, etc.” One question asked was, “How many children do you expect to have after you marry?” and “How old were you when you first started dating?”
What is AIR doing today? AIR is currently working with multiple partners, including the Department of Education, United Nations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Open Society Institute (George Soros), to “conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.” AIR prides itself on its ”long history of contributing to evidence-based social change.”
What does this mean for the Alpine School District, or even the State of Utah? In 2012 USOE developed the USOE Technology Standards 2012. One of the standards is to have a network-enabled computing device capable of providing access to the school’s technology resources. A purpose of this is for the understanding “human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.” I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that AIR will be heavily involved with this.
AIR will be developing these assessments, which will include behavioral questions. It’s what they do. One of their primary objectives is to use this data not only in collaboration with other states in relation to common core, but also in collaboration with the United Nations.
Should Americans share these concerns about privacy? Yes we should and need to get some answers about why the Federal Government needs to gut American privacy laws to amass a huge database about every child in America.