Karen R. Effrem, MD


Dr. Karen Effrem is trained as a pediatrician and serves as president of Education Liberty Watch and the executive director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition.

It seems that all of the grassroots efforts to reach the Trump administration with Common Core-related concerns are finally starting to bear fruit. These concerns include Betsy DeVos’ pro-Common Core record, the disturbingly large number of Jeb Bush foundation employees and alumni staffing the U.S. Department of Education (USED), and the prominent decrease in the […]


In last week’s column, I mentioned four things that President Donald Trump could do to keep his education promises. One had to do with the budget: 3.) Cut the Federal Education Budget Considering that there are so many invasive, ineffective, expensive, over-reaching, privacy-robbing federal education programs that include related social emotional standards tied to Common Core, President Trump […]


Despite consistently promising to end Common Core in nearly every stump speech as a candidate, which was likely one key aspect of his stunning election victory, those words “Common Core” seem to have disappeared from now-President Donald Trump’s political lexicon. The academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, and psychologically manipulative standards were not mentioned in either his […]


In researching the psychologically manipulative aspects of the Common Core standards and aligned tests in 2014 and 2015, I came across this very alarming statement: ASCA [American School Counselors Association] Mindsets & Behaviors align with specific standards from the Common Core State Standards through connections at the competency level. [Emphasis added] To carry this out, […]


The nanny-state-sponsored, womb-to-tomb effort to manage, assess and track everything about your young children — including their attitudes, values, and beliefs — is moving ahead at break-neck speed. Here is more news from that broad front. Turning Teachers Into Pyschologists On the federal level, there has been a huge push to impose social emotional learning […]


In good news this week for student privacy and safety, the Trump administration announced it would be dropping objections raised by the Obama Justice Department (DOJ) to a nationwide injunction from a Texas judge against transgender student access to bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to gender identity instead of biological sex. Oral arguments were to […]


Although present in many other areas of the Republican Party Platform, the struggle between parents/grassroots activists and corporate education reform/data overlords is no more evident than in education. That fight is between parents who are demanding their inherent right to control the educational destinies of their children and the corporate titans, politicians of both parties, […]


Donald Trump is set to announce his vice-presidential choice sometime this week, before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland begins on Monday. Despite occasional stumbles, such as identifying education as one of the core functions of the federal government and his dizzying policy switches, Trump has been relatively stable in opposing Common Core and claiming he […]


A recent column by Brenda Leong of the Brookings Institution condescendingly intones that parents are clueless and fearful about the glories of womb-to-tomb data-collection for our children, including social-emotional (psychological) data. Here is an excerpt: The role of technology within schools expanded at an unprecedented rate, general awareness of consumer data security and breaches increased, and […]


The Dark Side of Student Data Mining

by Karen R. Effrem, MD

Janice Gobert’s recent op-ed in US News & World Report is another classic example of the huge disconnect between parents and the big government and corporate education-technology “Big Data” machine. Big Data seems to believe computers can teach children better than teachers or parents. It also claims entitlement to constant data from our children, including psychological data, […]


Politics K-12, the Education Week blog, compared the remaining five presidential candidates on how well they have performed on implementing this list of education reforms: Strongly back charter schools, and in some cases vouchers as well; Think that accountability should present data-based information on schools in a fashion parents can easily grasp; Believe that standardized […]


Businessman Donald Trump has gained an incredibly loyal following attracted to his putative outsider status.  Significant numbers of education activists are happy, because he has frequently said, “Common Core is a disaster” and that we need to “make education local” — ostensibly by getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education — and has given the […]


Just as the Common Core pushing textbook publishing giants like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson have had financial incentive to support Jeb Bush and his now former organization, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), corporate cronyism is also alive and well via those companies involved in Big Data. The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a […]


Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times discussed Common Core’s role in the campaign of the two Florida presidential candidates, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. The article, titled “Rubio may oppose Common Core but has supported the ideas behind it,” lists several ways that Marco Rubio has supported the components of the Common Core system: …while […]


Former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush released his education plan on January 18th.  In it, he tries hard to sound like he cares about and supports local control and parental autonomy. In fact, the document, on pre-K through grade 12 issues, is merely a kinder, gentler form of federal tyranny that continues unconstitutional government […]


There is no rest for the weary. Congress continues to erode student privacy along with parental autonomy. In February, we warned of the bill to reauthorize the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This reauthorization bill, called the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA), allows the federal government […]


This post was co-authored by Jane Robbins, an attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Congressional leadership has decided to ignore grassroots Americans yet again and give President Obama an education bill he’ll accept. Among the numerous reasons parents are dismayed by this news is that the “compromise” bill will expand federal involvement […]