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Why parents are “paranoid” about Common Core

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 21, 2014 09:49 AM

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Why parents are “paranoid” about Common Core
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

This week’s award for Biggest Common Core Jerk goes to Missouri GOP state legislator Mike Lair. Parents, teachers and administrators who object to the government education “standards” racket — which usurps local control, impedes academic achievement and undermines family privacy — have politicians on the defensive. The only thing these Fed Ed flacks and hacks can respond with is cowardly condescension.

Lair, chairman of Missouri’s House Appropriations Committee on Education, inserted an $8 budget line item to mock Common Core critics as tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists. Lair’s item reads: “For two rolls of high-density aluminum to create headgear designed to deflect drone and/or black helicopter mind reading and control technology.”

Common Core jerkitude is a bipartisan disease. Lair’s ridicule of grave parental concerns about Common Core data mining follows in the footsteps of Democratic U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (who derided opponents as “white suburban moms“) and GOP former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (who derided opponents’ motives as “purely political“). It’s all a snitty, snotty smokescreen that will backfire as more families from all parts of the political spectrum discover the truth about Common Core’s invasive nature.

Assessing Common Core is inextricably tied to the big business of data collection and data mining. States that took the Race to the Top bribes in exchange for adopting Common Core must now comply with the edutech requirements of two private testing conglomerates, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Common Core states also agreed to expand existing statewide longitudinal database systems that contain sensitive student data from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education.

Will Estrada and Katie Tipton of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association conclude that “it will become increasingly difficult to protect the personal information of homeschool and private school students as these databases grow.” In addition to stimulus and Race to the Top enticements, both the Education and Labor Departments have funded several other initiatives to build and make various interoperable student and teacher databases.

“Before our eyes,” Estrada and Tipton warn, “a ‘national database’ is being created in which every public school student’s personal information and academic history will be stored.”

It’s no laughing matter.

Just this week, SafeGov.org, a computer privacy watchdog group, reported that Google has admitted in recent court filings that “it data mines student emails for ad-targeting purposes outside of school, even when ad serving in school is turned off.” The newly exposed documents explicitly “confirm in a sworn public court declaration that even when ad serving is turned off in Google Apps for Education (GAFE), the contents of users’ emails are still being scanned by Google in order to target ads at those same users when they use the web outside of Google Apps (for example, when watching a YouTube video, conducting a Google search, or viewing a web page that contains a Google+ or DoubleClick cookie).” Last month, I reported on how Google is building brand loyalty through a questionable GAFE certification program that essentially turns teachers into tax-subsidized lobbyists for the company.

In New York, opposition from left, right and center has forced education bureaucrats to delay uploading personally identifiable student information to the Common Core-linked inBloom data cloud, a partnership of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

In Colorado, Jefferson County families from both sides of the political aisle forced the district to withdraw from a meddling inBloom pilot project adopted without parental consent.

As I’ve explained before, the exploding multibillion-dollar education technology sector is driven by Common Core’s top-down digital learning and testing mandates. Remember: Under the Obama administration, Grand Canyon-sized loopholes in the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act have already opened data mining of students’ personally identifiable information (Social Security numbers, disciplinary records, biometric data, etc.) to third-party private entities.

Dr. Gary Thomson of the Utah-based Early Life Child Psychology and Education Center, a father of four and a clinical psychologist, is asking the fundamental questions politicians refuse to ask — and continue to scorn — regarding the Common Core-driven data collection:

–”For what EXACT purpose will this sensitive data be utilized?”

– “What organizations will have access to identifiable academic records? Other than generic information regarding race, age, gender and geographic location, why does the federal database require identifiable information to be accessible?”

–”If the political responses to these questions are ‘all information contained in the database is unidentifiable and security stored,’ then why were changes made to FERPA to allow an exemption to educational privacy rights when it comes to the implementation of the Common Core State Standards?”

When politicians want to evade accountability, they go on the attack. They don’t loathe anti-Common Core parents because they’re “paranoid.” They fear them because “paranoid” is the political demagogue’s word for active, alert and well-informed.

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Related:

Google admits data mining student emails in its free education apps

inBloom and Data Mining: A Common Core Cousin

Are Governor Malloy’s new Google Chromebooks data mining our kids?

Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters on inBloom in NYC

Previous:

Common Core and the EduTech abyss

Colorado principal: Common Core threatens our autonomy, student privacy, and mission of excellence
A brown-skinned suburban mom responds to Common Core bigot Arne Duncan
Big news in fight against Common Core: InBloom-peddling Jefferson County CO superintendent resigns tonight; school board severs ties with inBloom
How NOT to argue with parents about Common Core
Jeb Bush’s latest Common Core snit fit
More parents stand up to educrats, face no-trespass and gag orders
Rotten to the Core: Jeb Bush’s Crony Republicans Against Higher Standards
Rotten to the Core, Part 1: Obama’s War on Academic Standards
Rotten to the Core, Part 2: Readin’, writin’ and deconstructionism
Rotten to the Core, Part 3: Lessons from Texas and the Growing Grassroots Revolt
Rotten to the Core, Part 4: The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Database
Time To Opt Out of Creepy Fed Ed Data-Mining Racket
Rotten to the Core: Reader feedback from the frontlines
My child’s Common Core-aligned Algebra book is crap
Rotten to the Core: Conservatives spearhead drive at RNC meeting to stop Common Core
Today: Twitter rally to stop Common Core
Who’s tracking your children?

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More resources:

Stop Common Core Twitter list
Fight Common Core
Truth in American Education
EAGNews Common Core tracker
Freedom Works – Stop Common Core resources
Heritage Foundation – Lindsey Burke – Reject Common Core
Home School Legal Defense Fund Association’s new white paper on Common Core
Do the math — Common Core = a massive, risky experiment on your kids

Related education posts:

Fuzzy math: A nationwide epidemic
Everyday Math = junk
Obama’s Sputter-nik moment: Cash for Education Clunkers
January 2005: NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, ACT II
February 2005: THE REVOLT AGAINST NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
Stupid education fad of the day: “Mayan Math”

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