The Common Core Standards (CCS) have become a national hot topic. It’s stealthy implementation and slick looking website, coupled with very little press and even less public information for parents from school systems, has left a bad taste in the mouths of parents, teachers, and students.
Then there’s the data collection, which has left parents upset and frustrated.
For those just starting to read about CCS, a good source to get up to speed is the primer at the John Locke Foundation called 35 Questions About Common Core: Answers for North Carolinians. Another useful document is Common Core State Standards put out by Truth In American Education.
Concern has developed over a number of areas with regards to Common Core, this particular article will deal with data collection, or data mining, being performed. This article is meant to be an overview, with subsequent articles delving into more details. Here in North Carolina, the heat has been turned up a notch on CCS and the NC General Assembly has recently filed a bill to study exactly the impacts and consequences of the CCS.
Some Backstory on Data Mining in Common Core
The CCS, when adopted by a state, require that state to engage in the creation of a database to track students and teachers. This is called the State Longitudinal Database System or SLDS. The creation of the SLDS is not optional, it is a requirement by the Federal government for the state to receive funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the Stimulus. In North Carolina, that SLDS is called CEDARS. (Read: NC CEDARS presentation, 2009)
The data mining in Common Core is extensive and complicated, recommended reading: School Data Collection Facts Summary. In a nutshell, the SLDS is a direct portal for the Department of Education to access a wide range of information on your child and you have no say in it yet your tax dollars paid for it. (Read: EdFacts from Ed.gov)
Additional Useful Reading on SLDS and The Common Core:
- Common Core as Trojan Horse | Michelle Malkin – National Review Online
- School Data Collection Facts Summary | COMMON CORE
- Indoctrination and Data Mining in Common Core: Here’s Why America’s Schools May Be in More Trouble Than You Think | Video | TheBlaze.com
- Data Mining, Common Core and Glenn Beck | Truth in American Education
SLDS in North Carolina: CEDARS
- WHO: NC Department of Instruction (DPI).
- WHAT: State Longitudinal Database System (Read: CEDARS FAQ).
- WHEN: 2009 to present. CEDARS has been live and available since September 2011.
- WHY: States adopting the CCS are required by the Department of Education to implement statewide databases in order to receive ARRA funding. Tracking of students will be done via the Unique Statewide Identifier (UID).
In 2009 the state of North Carolina applied to the Department of Education for an SLDS grant. The state of North Carolina is estimated to have received $100 billion in stimulus money. The application was 240 pages containing budget estimates entirely dealing with databases. The funding for CEDARS was approximately $6 million. (Read: NORTH CAROLINA COMMON EDUCATION DATA ANALYSIS AND REPORTING SYSTEM (NC CEDARS))
CEDARS draws from a number of already existing databases and the information collected is sharable with a variety of entities, the main one being the Department of Education. From a presentation in 2009 on CEDARS given by DPI, the data sets collected are seen in the slide below. Please note, this is not an all-inclusive list.
As stated above, this list is not all-inclusive and will be investigated further in later articles. In researching Common Core and CEDARS, I’ve found it to be much like peeling an onion — the layers of which just don’t seem to end.
Useful Documents and Additional Reading can be found in my repository on Scribd.
Prior Posts on Common Core from LL1885: