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.

This week, the American Principles Project, Education Liberty Watch, and Eagle Forum, along with leaders from more than 100 organizations both nationally and in 31 states, called on Congress to rewrite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In a letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee, these organizations strongly urged Congress to protect the […]


The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning, a joint effort of the Aspen Institute and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), has recently released more “calls to action” for teachers, youth, and families. These include calling for expanding SEL interventions and involvement in the school safety realm in the wake […]


While federal, state, and local officials are trying to improve student safety in the wake of the tragic Parkland, Fla., school shooting, the heightened concern over student mental health has greatly increased efforts to screen students for mental health issues. Two programs in Texas exemplify this push — with potentially ominous implications for student health, […]


In an article for The Daily Caller last week, APP senior fellows Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins clearly explained the dangers and consequences for education of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. Those consequences are nicely summarized as follows: In the No Free Lunch Department, Doug Levin of EdTech Strategies, LLC warned, “Privacy experts have long been concerned […]


The School Safety Commission ordered by President Trump that will discuss and recommend ways to keep schools safer after the tragic Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February is set to hold its first series of roundtable discussions this Wednesday, April 4th. This commission, chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, […]


Tragically for our children’s futures and freedoms — but predictably, as we warned here and here — Congress heeded very few general principles or President Trump’s good ideas about preserving freedom and privacy, decreasing the federal footprint in education, supporting programs that work, or maintaining fiscal discipline. The House yesterday passed the $1.3 trillion omnibus-spending bill — […]


Sadly, the great wisdom contained in Ben Franklin’s maxim, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” was entirely lost on the Florida legislature. After much political posturing and theater, on March 7th, they passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act that I warned […]


Progressives in both parties are continuing to use the government-created problem of fatherless poor and minority families to peddle their schemes of expanding the role of government-as-parent yet again to create more preschool and home visiting programs. The Problem with Government Preschool Take, for example, Mississippi school superintendent Dr. Carey Wright (see here for her past exploits), […]


In the rush to “do something” to respond to the horrific and tragic Parkland shooting in Florida, a Florida Senate committee considered bills on Monday that greatly expand mental screening and profiling of students, “harden” security at schools, fund more school resource officers, and arm teachers and others that volunteer and undergo extensive training and […]


The Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 education budget contains many reductions and eliminations that should give hope to parents and privacy advocates. But sadly, congressional appropriators seem almost as genetically incapable of eliminating ineffective, invasive, or harmful programs — despite mountains of data clearly documenting these programs’ uselessness — as they are of exerting any sort […]


Despite courageous efforts by Senator Rand Paul, other fiscally conservative senators, and the House Freedom Caucus, as well as the objections of pro-amnesty Democrat members in both chambers, Congress passed a two-year budget deal early this morning that ballooned spending by $300 billion over the next two years, significantly enlarging the deficit. The bill also […]


On January 30th, American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins gave outstanding testimony at a U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee hearing titled “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education.” She spoke eloquently about the critical need for data privacy over data security, the dangers of social emotional learning, and the […]


Last Thursday’s edition of Politico’s Morning Education had a short blurb on the status of the preschool development grants, yet another ill-considered federal preschool program imposed by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Here is part of what was written: WHAT’S UP WITH PRESCHOOL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS? Like many other programs waiting on Congress’ fiscal 2018 budget, […]


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave an interesting speech to the American Enterprise Institute last week. In some parts, it contained rhetoric that skeptical conservatives have been waiting to hear. Yet, other parts toed the corporate-establishment, ed-tech, education-as-workforce-prep line that previous administrations of both parties have pursued. Here is a brief review. The Positives First, […]


The National Commission on Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (SEL) that we have discussed and warned about had a major gathering in Tacoma, Wash., this past November and sent out an email update in early January. The commission is led by Linda Darling Hammond, the head of CASEL, who was radical terrorist Bill Ayers’ choice […]


Happy New Year! Here is a brief update on federal education issues we were following before Christmas and some predictions as 2018 begins. As always, the contrast between policies that uphold the Constitution, academic excellence, parental rights, and data privacy versus those that expand big government control and corporate interests, using student as mere widgets […]


The corporations, foundations, investors, and politicians funded by them have been working hard this year to promote competency-based education (CBE), also called personalized learning, as well as its evil sibling, social emotional learning (SEL). CBE, although poorly defined by proponents, is essentially machine-based learning with constant assessment, including SEL assessment and profiling, to track students […]


The House Education and Workforce Committee completed their mark-up last week of HR 4508, which they have named the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act. Here is an update on the data privacy implications of this bill. The good news is that the ban on a student unit-record system is […]


Back in February, both Education Liberty Watch and American Principles Project warned about and submitted comments to The Federal Register opposing U.S. participation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) latest ill-advised and invasive International Early Learning Study (IELS). This is a new scheme to extend international standardized testing, social emotional profiling, and data mining […]


Amidst of the ongoing battle against the surveillance state that we have chronicled with the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (FEPA), the College Transparency Act (CTA), and the regulatory gutting of the family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), there is yet another data bill that is now rearing its head. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), […]