#DM7 Article: The Smarter Balanced Connections

This is a reposting of my weekly Da Tech Guy column: The Smarter Balanced Connections


By A.P. Dillon

Last week, I wrote about Lamar Alexander’s ‘education’ history.  In that article, I traced Alexander’s involvement with the “New American Schools Development Corporation” and how that company was merged with the  The American Institutes for Research (AIR).

AIR is now producing Common Core tests for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).  The other outfit producing Common Core tests is The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).  PARCC is run by publishing behemoth Pearson.

Both sets of test have come under fire with states pulling out of the SBAC, parents opting their kids out of the tests and, most recently, students walking out of the PARCC tests in New Mexico.  The tests are reported to be poorly written in some cases and there have been concerns over data collected by these tests and the privacy of that data.

Just yesterday, a judge in Missouri ruled that the SBAC fees in Missouri were unconstitutional. Missouri Education Watchdog reported:

Judge Green of the circuit court of Cole County has just granted summary judgment in our favor on our claim that Missouri’s membership fees to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia are unlawful under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as “state and federal law.”

Judge Green has permanently enjoined the State of Missouri from making payments in the form of membership fees to Smarter Balanced. We can no longer be a member of SBAC.

Quoting directly from the judgement, which found the SBAC participation by Missouri to be in violation of the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution and “unlawful under state and federal law”.

The judgement mentions the SBAC thusly, “the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a.k.a. Smarter Balanced, Smarter Balanced at UCLA“.  It is worth mentioning that North Carolina is a member of the SBAC and at some point between October 2014 and January 2015, North Carolina’s status at the SBAC went from Governing State to Affiliate State.

Upon inquiring with the SBAC, I was informed this change happened because North Carolina refused to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UCLA. However, according to a statement from North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction, the status change occurred because the state did not administer the full SBAC test in spring of 2014.

Let’s return to Lamar Alexander, who is the sponsor of S. 227Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA).  This bill seeks to actually increase data collection of children, including psychological profiling.  To be clear, this bill is dangerous.

SETRA depends on FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) to protect student data privacy. FERPA was gutted by the U.S. Department of Education and Arne Duncan in 2011 in order to let data under Common Core and the associated tests to flow freely.  That same year SBAC scored big with the the U.S. Department of Education.

When states took Race To The Top Funds and agreed to adopt Common Core, they were also required the construction of State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS). Under SETRA, these SLDS’s will now get even more student data.

Who benefits? Arguably education profiteers have the most to gain. Without the data, outfits like SBAC and PARCC cease to function. Perhaps Senator Alexander can comment on the bill that benefits “public and private entities,” of which his past ‘education history’ is entwined with?

Also of note is H.R. 5, The Student Success Act, which is being rushed through and promoted by Congressional representatives as the opposite of what it really is.  This bill marginalizes parental rights and local decision-making.

SETRA also claims to protect states from federal coercion related to Common Core. Pay attention to the language, the bill prevents future federal coercion. SETRA does nothing to stop the current situation.

These two bills combined represent a failure to listen and a failure to learn from the mistakes of the past. In a nutshell: Education officials and Congress still haven’t figured out our kids and their education are not data sets to be bought and sold.

The public needs to contact their Senators and their Representatives.  Now.

AP DillonA.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder ofLadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. 

 

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About That ‘Twitter Debate Study’ WaPo And Twitchy Cite

Washington Post had an article this week about How Twitter is changing the national Common Core debate.

Michelle Malkin has been a monster on Twitter on Common Core, this is undeniable.  The moms out there tweeting everyday should also be recognized for their tremendous effort and impact.

I just wanted to remind folks about who did this ‘study’, what was really the purpose and who was contacted. Also, who didn’t consent to participate and the unanswered question of who funded this study.

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Video: Parents In FL Shut Down When They Criticize Curriculum

Free speech in Jeb Bush’s faux educational utopia, Florida.

Zero Hedge has an article that includes video of parents speaking out at a Naples, Florida school board workshop being shut down by the school board as they spoke out against curriculum and textbooks.

David Bolduc, a resident of Naples, Florida recently sent us a note highlighting a video in which he, and several other concerned parents, were reprimanded and treated like little children in a School Board Workshop as a result of them expressing concerns about school curriculum.
Zero Hedge

There is some background provided at Zero Hedge on the issue, which includes specific examples of parental concerns with textbooks being used, as outlined in a letter to the editor by one of the parents.

ShutupperyIn the video board chair, Kathleen Curatolo, keeps interrupting the parents telling them to ‘stick to the issues’ when their comments address any given person or even a generic group. In effect, she censors their statements.

At one point, a parent is told that if they can’t ‘abide by the rules of civility’ they will be asked to leave.

Be sure to watch the whole thing, especially the comment starting around the 3:22 mark.

Here’s the video that accompanies the article.

Related Reading:  
Parental Rights in Public School: Quickly Disappearing. Parents are Outranked by School Administrators.

“Just Who Do These People (School Administrators) Think They Are”? This Missouri Parent Wants to Know.

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REMINDER: Public Comment Deadline on APUSH is Feb. 28

Action ButtonJust a reminder, the deadline is approaching for sending public comments on the controversial new AP U.S. History framework:

U.S. History Curriculum Framework Public Comment Form

If you wish to propose evidence-based changes to the AP US History Curriculum Framework, please do so from October 1, 2014 through February 28, 2015. After that time, all collected feedback will be reviewed and considered by the AP U.S. History Course and Exam Development Committee. If you have any additional questions, please email apcourses@collegeboard.org.

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Rep. Foxx Is Dead Wrong on H.R. 5 (Update: So Is The Blaze)

Yesterday, while a Twitter rally to #StopHR5 took place, an op-ed by Rep. Virginia Foxx showed up at Breitbart about H.R. 5 “The Student Success Act”.

Her op-ed contains all the same talking points as other co-sponsors of this bill and she’s facing criticism for it on her Facebook page.

Many of the claims Rep. Foxx has made about the bill appear to be false and the main premise of the article was that the bill reduces the ‘federal footprint’ and  that “The Student Success Act gets Washington out of the business of running schools.

No, it doesn’t.  In fact, it does the opposite.  This bill does not ‘reduce Washington’s federal footprint’, it turns Washington into Bigfoot.

This bill is a trap, as Steve MacDonald at Watchdog Arena notes:

HR5 is being sold as legislation that will “support State and local accountability for public education, protect State and local authority, inform parents of the performance of their children’s schools, and for other purposes.”  But if this bill becomes law and your state legislature accepts the money, state and local authority are sacrificed to the diktats of the Department of Education.

Much of the power grabs in this bill hinge on the states accepting the federal money.

The only way for states to opt out of federal mandates is if the states are willing to forego all federal NCLB funding.

This over 600 page bill acts as a reauthorization of the failed No Child Left Behind (NCLB), but on steroids. This bill reauthorizes NCLB until 2021.

One of the bigger claims proponents are making is that it ends Common Core. As you may have guessed, that’s false. HR 5 prevents future federal government intrusion like Common Core.

Heritage Action Sentinel has broken down some of the claims being made versus the reality of what is in the bill, many of which are claims Rep. Foxx makes in the article.

Rep. Foxx is just dead wrong on this one.

For those wishing to reach out to Rep. Foxx and other North Carolina Representatives, their contact information can be found at GovTrack.

One final note, a resolution related to 529 accounts was added to HR 5 yesterday. See: H.Res. 121: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 529) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve 529 plans

UPDATE: The Blaze has the story wrong – HR5 needs to GO. I’ve tweeted to them and to Mr. Beck. Let’s hope they get it fixed.

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