This blog post is about Why I care, it may cover a broad spectrum of things but my true focus is to share with you my underlying fundamentals that drive me forward. I believe, above everything else, that each individual has the RIGHT to LIFE, and the RIGHT to what they Do or DO NOT put into their body....
My teenage daughter saw me doing a lot of research on the Common Core and witnessed the concern I had over the collection of data on children...She asked: Why do you care? Raven isn't in school, and we will home school our children.
Why indeed? A great question with multiple answers, especially when you take into a count that my number one goal in life is Freedom of the Body, as in Medical Freedom (What you do or do not put into your body...I am old school and believe in the Nuremberg Code). The most relevant being: every time I read about the educational system the following lyrics pop into my head: There's something happen here...and what it is aint exactly clear.. (Now I know what this song is about and the two really don't have anything to do with each other...but I include it to give you a hint at my mood when I study, read, and look at the tragedy of our children's futures.)
Is it my business what your children learns? Most certainly not. As long as children aren't being abused, and I mean abused, I have no problems...learn away...learn away. HOWEVER. When you tie together everything a pattern emerges and you begin to get a little bit sick, and though you don't want to say it...you realize something is not right....Something that is far reaching and will change the future, and probably not for the better. So even though my children are protected for now, what about my grandchildren, what about those people who do not know what is going on? And why is this happening at the same moment that "psych" evaluations are being forced on the children.
Example (Please click read more) and bear with me as I expose some of my thoughts.
Common Core scares me, but not for the same reason that one might think. I believe that all children are different, special, and should be allowed to thrive and grow at their own rates. So when I see that "behavioral" and "social integration" are being added to "testing" I take a step back. Why? Well we will get into that.
Lets begin with an open letter, written by Christel Swasey, to Judy Park: (I have highlighted the points that I find most interesting and make me question: What the hell is going on? Please keep in mind parents aren't allowed to see this test, not even after the child takes it. What are they hiding?)
"Dear Associate Superintendent Judy Park,
Recently, you wrote (and were quoted in a letter sent out by a St. George charter school to the parents, a letter that aimed to prevent parents from opting out of the Common Core testing) the following:
“The advocates of anti-common core are falsely accusing USOE and schools and districts of collecting and storing data that is “behavioral data and non-academic personal information”. They have no real evidence or examples to support this claim. The only data that is collected and maintained is the specific data required by state and federal law.”
Here’s unfortunate evidence to the contrary, Ms. Park.
1. First, there is a Utah law about Common Core standardized tests. This law, HB15, created in 2012, requires the collection of behavior indicators. It calls for “ the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance” as part of the testing. This is Utah’s S.A.G.E. –aka Common Core or A.I.R.– test.
2. There is a company that Utah has paid at least $39 million to write its Common Core-aligned standardized tests: American Institutes for Research. Its mission: “AIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation…“
Are we to believe that although AIR’s purpose is to test behavioral and social indicators, and although Utah law says that the test must test behavioral indicators, the test still won’t?
3. Utah’s SLDS grant application talks about authorizing de-identification of data for research and says that individuals will be authorized to access personal student information in the various Utah agencies that belong to UDA. (Who are these individuals? Why does the UDA trust them with information that parents weren’t even told was being gathered on our children?)
Starting at page 87 on that same SLDS federal application, we read how non-cognitive behaviors that have nothing to do with academics, will be collected and studied by school systems. These include “social comfort and integration, academic conscientiousness, resiliency, etc.” to be evaluated through the psychometric census known as the “Student Strengths Inventory. (SSI)” That SSI inventory –my child’s psychological information– will be integrated into the system (SLDS). Nonacademic demographic and other personal information is also captured while administering the test. SSI data will be given to whomever it is assumed, by the so-called leadership, that needs to see it. (This should be a parental decision but has become a state decision.)
The SLDS grant promises to integrate psychological data into the state database. “Utah’s Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance programs have substantial Student Education Occupation Plan, (SEOP) data, but they are not well integrated with other student data. With the introduction of UtahFutures and the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) and its focus on noncognitive data, combining such data with other longitudinal student level data to the USOE Data Warehouse the UDA.” It also says:
“… psychosocial or noncognitive factors… include, but are not limited to educational commitment, academic engagement and conscientiousness, social comfort and social integration, academic self-efficacy, resiliency… Until recently, institutions had to rely on standardized cognitive measures to identify student needs. … We propose to census test all current student in grades 11 and 12 and then test students in grade 11 in subsequent years using the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) – a measure of noncognitive attitudes and behaviors.” So the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) is a “psychometric census” to be taken by every 11th and 12th grade student in Utah. That’s one way they’re gathering the psychological data.
4. Ms. Park, you yourself are a key player and even a writer for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) –the organization that co-created and co-copyrighted Common Core. This makes me fairly confident that you are aware of what the CCSSO stands for and what its goals are. On the CCSSO website, it states that one of its main goals is “Continued Commitment to Disaggregation” of student data. Disaggregation means that academic bundles of students’ information will be separated into groups that are increasingly easy to identify individually.
Lastly, there is this issue: You wrote, “The only data that is collected and maintained is the specific data required by state and federal law.” This is a big problem since the state and the federal requirements do not match anymore. The state is much more protective of students’ rights. Federal FERPA regulations have been altered –not by Congress but by the sneaky Department of Education (DOE). The DOE changed the definitions of terms. They reduced from a requirement to only a “best practice” the previously protective rule that parental consent had to be obtained (prior to sharing private student data). They redefined personally identifiable information. So, no more parental consent needed and whatever they can con states into sharing, will be shared. Is this the kind of federal rule that Ms. Park is content to have us obey?
Because Utah agreed in that same SLDS federal grant applicaton to use PESC standards and SIF interoperability frameworks, Utah’s children’s private data can be accessed by other states and federal agencies very easily as long as current Utah policy permits it.
Unless bills like Jake Anderegg’s current HB169 student data privacy bill and others like it will pass, we have very few protections and a wide open policy of quite promiscious data sharing here in Utah.
Sad but true.
Don't get me wrong. I am not particularly against Computer Adaptive Tests, as they may be a way to actually measure a students knowledge level...a great example and explanation of the positive side of the test can be seen here:
Okay...so you may be a bit lost...but let me point out what I don't like: I don't like the psychological aspect of gathering information on our students? Why? Well....Let us begin that journey. If I were to tell you that I can clump children together in groups based on their psychological attributes, you may agree this is a great idea. After all the clumping of children together in age groups is just not working. We know that some children learn concepts faster than others, and though a kid may not be "into" school at age 5-10, they may suddenly gain a love of learning at age 11.
But do we want to build our education around an institution that yields such power and is steeped in limited science evidence, as in no tests, just hypothesis? Please don't be offended, and bear with me a little bit longer.
My High-school child is about to graduate. The other day she came home (yes this is after her question) and said point blank: "Mom I think you may be right about some of your crazy-conspiracies"
I turn, and said: "Why would you say that?"
She proceeded to tell me about her computer lesson in Health. The lesson focused on telling the children that they should not rely on the internet to get health questions answered. It went on to talk about the dangers of doing this and how a medical professional was the only one qualified to tell them about their state of health. Next the lesson went into this dire message about Teen Suicide Rates. You can check out an article about this here.
Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in America, which is scary, isn't it. So Next it went on to give my child a survey....and at the end of the survey it said: You may have this possible mental disorder, but luckily you can go to a doctor and they may be able to give you medication to help you. (Anxiety).
WTF? Seriously. They took away teen-screen and replaced it with a survey? A survey?
Here is one mothers story on teen-screen and an example of what is happening now. Parents fought against the teen-screen, but nothing has changed....As is par for the course: They repackage the same product and rename it.
When Teen-Screen was in full bloom: According to an article in the British Medical Journal in 2005, the Texas project mandated the use of the newer and more expensive anti-psychotic drugs. This was to be expanded to develop "a comprehensive national policy to treat mental illness with expensive, patented medications of questionable benefit and deadly side effects…
Please see the CDC website about drugging children as young as Four with drugs listed in the same category as cocaine. Would you really give a four-year-old cocaine?
Don't get me wrong. I think that we need to find out what is happening in our schools and what is causing this spike in suicide and suicidal thoughts. One recent collection of data pointed toward bullies. Children are being bullied more so they are prone to suicidal thoughts. This seems very straight forward. When you sit down and talk to a child that is "depressed" you will normally find that it is out-side forces creating their mood. (One can argue that You are in control of Your own emotions) However we know that kids and even adults are susceptible to out-side forces. 13 million kids are bullied. This is an OUTSIDE force and not an INSIDE force and cannot be fixed with medication.....Even though they are now Medicating our children...at an obscene level (some as young as 2)!
To further my explanation on "outside" forces causing our children to feel mental ill: In 2006 North Iowa "teen-screened" 2,527 kids...460 scored positive for signs of depression, of those 201 had attempted suicide. The reason most given: bullies.
And bullies can come in many forms. From parents, to teachers, to friends, to online. We must keep in mind that children are not free human beings. They have to comply. They can't quit school, they must do as they are told. This puts children into a dangerous and scary place. And think about the children being sexually abused. They are depressed, and probably prone to outbursts. Do they always "tell" they are being abused, no of course not. Do you think maybe some of these kids with bipolar disorder might be molestation victims?
So now we come full circle: The Data Collection and Psychology being used: Testing and scoring children for their threshold for behavioral change without protest.
Is this dangerous: You better believe it. If children's feelings can be closely tied to their environment...and the environment has become toxic...What happens?
Think about this:
approximately 11% of children 4-17 or 6.4 million have been diagnosed with ADHD, at it has increased steadily each year.
An estimated 2 million children suffer from Depression.
1% of children 14 to 18 have bipolar disorder...BUT, they have found that 20% of adolescents with major depression will develop into Bipolar disorder.
Another 4 million suffer from "serious mental disorders" such as anxiety, OCD, and the like.
Why do I care? Well to sum up: Parents are losing their rights to raise their children left and right. Children have been taken away for not taking psychiatric medicine. Common Core opens the door for big business to come in and dictate what they need: As in Children are not Children...They are human capital. If our children are human capital, that means their "spirit" can easily be broken, as a business wants manageable, good worker drones. If this many children already are diagnosed with "mental illness" and the numbers are growing...shouldn't we take a step back and say: Wait a minute...how can all these children really be "sick" There are no tests, just a statement that they think it is caused by a chemical imbalance. Well if it is a chemical imbalance and the numbers are increasing...shouldn't we find out if an outside source: Bad food, Bad air, Bullies, Child molestation, and lack of exercise is the reason. Do we really want to subject our children to power drugs that can and do cause long term damage?
What happened to the time when we told children not to take drugs? What happened to the time when parents mattered in educational decisions? Why is big business deciding on education for our child: Because they are stake holders?
Here are some links I would like to share:
Mandatory mental health screening in NY
Psychological manipulation in Common Core
House bill 131
NAMI: Sample Anti-Mental Health bills
On this please note the following that NAMI said:
Florida SB-2286 (which failed)Sets forth the contents of a consent statement that families must sign before their child is evaluated for an emotional, behavioral, mental disorder, a specific learning disability, or other health impairment. It is clear that the language included in the consent form is designed to discourage families from having their child evaluated for mental health related concerns and uses fear to discourage families from considering the use of medication to treat mental disorders (2006 Session - Failed)
I apologize this ran a lot longer than I thought. In the end I believe that Parents and Children should be free to decide their future, their education, and their medical choices. With this mobilization of making School the Hub of the community, including medical and mental health needs, we are losing something....our rights to choose our future. We are not "human resource" we are humans. We laugh, we cry, we sometimes get angry....but that doesn't necessarily mean we are "diseased"....We must find the "cause" and not instantly push for the "cure" because in the end...with children...sometimes love is the simple cure when you find out what the real cause is.
Thanks for joining me. XOXOX Elicia.
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