Karen R. Effrem, MD


Dr. Karen Effrem and her husband have three children. She is trained as a pediatrician and serves as national education issues chairman for Eagle Forum and president of Education Liberty Watch.

On July 5th, ten of the current twenty major Democratic presidential candidates gathered in Houston for the 2019 annual convention of the National Education Association (NEA) to discuss their education platforms before members of the nation’s largest teachers’ union. Present at this forum were: former Vice President Joe Biden, New York City Mayor Bill de […]


As chronicled in multiple articles (also here and here) and the Pioneer Institute white paper authored by attorney Jane Robbins and myself, efforts to impose government-determined norms for the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the nation’s children beginning in preschool are becoming disturbingly relentless. Despite lots of concerns by Ohio parents and pro-family state school […]


As the evidence — even from respected pro-preschool researchers — continues to mount that government preschool programs are not particularly helpful and may actually be academically and emotionally harmful, the pro-nanny state side comes up with another “study” to say that preschool has some magical long-term benefits that previous research somehow failed to reveal. The […]


As efforts increase to protect school safety in the wake of high-profile school shootings like those in Parkland and Sandy Hook, so do data collection efforts by states and schools that significantly undermine student privacy. A recent article by Education Week outlined several of these efforts across the nation. Particularly disturbing are efforts to monitor […]


Despite all evidence and even advice from proponents to be careful in the implementation, supporters of social emotional learning (SEL) standards, assessments, and data collection are following the same playbook as those who imposed Common Core standards with little discussion or buy-in from parents and teachers. As recently discussed, the full Ohio State Board of […]


At the end of last week’s column discussing yet another study demonstrating the colossal academic failure of the Common Core standards in math and English Language Arts (ELA), I said the following: All of this shows that the January 31st executive order of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to eliminate Common Core from the Sunshine State and the more recent […]


Yet another study confirms what a miserable academic failure the Common Core standards have turned out to be. The research was carried out by the federally funded Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL) and reported by Lance Izumi of Pacific Research Institute in the conservative Daily Caller, as well as by Chalkbeat, a […]


A committee of the Ohio State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on advancing a proposal to the full state board to implement statewide social emotional learning (SEL) standards this coming Tuesday, May 14th. This is part of a national movement to psychologize education, falsely advertised as improving academic achievement and preventing violence and […]


A recent article by Joy Pullmann in The Federalist demonstrates just how nosy and invasive “school climate surveys” have become. These surveys are now a cornerstone of the implementation of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs in the nation’s public schools and have also been found in Common Core-aligned state tests and (illegally) in the National Assessment […]


The corporate technology push of machine-based skills training continues to march across the nation. This effort goes by the names such as “competency-based education” (CBE), “personalized learning,” and “mastery education.” It has been well described by Jane Robbins, Peter Greene, here and in this space. The latest is a bill in Florida that seeks to […]


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed Congress in 2015 despite the strong protests of more than 200 organizations and leaders after claims by leadership about the legislation: “Prohibiting the Secretary of Education from forcing, coercing, or incentivizing states into adopting Common Core” “Ending the era of federally mandated high-stakes tests” “Eliminating the federally mandated […]


Now that researchers and the staunchest proponents of the progressive nanny state are starting to admit that government preschool programs are failing to improve academic achievement for poor children, the big-government Left is joining with the corporate establishment to expand the even more invasive and still unsuccessful idea of home visiting. Bills are being pushed […]


New data continues to confirm what has been obvious for decades: federal interference in education since 1965 has failed to improve the academic achievement of poor children. This difference between students from higher and lower income families, dubbed “the achievement gap” by experts and policy makers, has remained stubbornly persistent for fifty years. A History […]


As discussed for the last two budget cycles (here and here) President Trump is working to keep his 2016 campaign promise to cut the size and scope of the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Here is some of the good, bad and ugly of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget: The Good News The 2020 budget […]


Not apparently content with the extent of invasive personality profiling discussed last year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is expanding it psychological profiling to 5,000 young children each in the U.S., England, and Estonia. The assessment is titled the International Early Learning Survey (IELS). Dubbed by some as “Baby PISA” (after the […]


The Pioneer Institute, a national leader in the fight against Common Core and other horrible corporatist and global education reform ideas, today released a new study titled “Social-Emotional Learning: K–12 Education as New Age Nanny State.” The study — which I was honored to co-author with attorney and researcher Jane Robbins and Dr. Kevin Ryan, […]


In the wake of multiple horrific school shootings — particularly the Parkland, Fla., massacre where 17 people were murdered by a student long-known to have mental issues — states all over the nation have been moving to expand mental health screening, treatment, and data collection. The two most prominent states are Florida and Texas, but […]


Karen Effrem: California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed radical Stanford professor emerita Linda Darling-Hammond to lead the California State Board of Education.


During last week’s State of the Union speech, President Trump spoke briefly on education by stating, “To help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America’s children.” This may include Senator Ted Cruz’s Student Empowerment Act, which would expand tax-free 529 college savings plans to include K-12 education expenses for […]


Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis followed through on an oft-repeated campaign pledge to “end the last vestiges” of Common Core in the Sunshine State. He signed Executive Order 19-32 that directs Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to “comprehensively review the academic standards for Florida’s Kindergarten through grade twelve students and provide recommended […]