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.

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 […]


Last week, the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (the Commission) issued their final report after a two-year process of convening meetings and gathering information. As has been covered many times in this space and others, there are many contradictions in logic and many problems with expanding social emotional learning (SEL) […]


Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gave a speech last week on the “State of American Business,” in which he described the Chamber’s views and plans on education: The first big issue centers on the American workforce. We must have a steady supply of talented and hard-working people to do the work […]


HR 4174, the privacy-crushing de facto national database bill discussed here earlier this week and recently at Townhall, will become law as early as tomorrow, January 12th, without a presidential veto. Economic and privacy experts are gravely concerned about this bill due to its potential to expand the welfare state and planned economy and an increased […]


There they go again. Big Government and Big Data have received another gift from Congress while the privacy of ordinary citizens has been further eroded. In sadly typical lame-duck fashion, the Senate passed HR 4174, the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act, right before Christmas after strong citizen opposition had held up its passage for 13 months. […]


The Federal Commission on School Safety released their final report this past week. Given its sweeping scope, the report naturally contained many recommendations that were seen as controversial, regardless of one’s perspective on a particular issue. Here are four key takeaways regarding the issues of academic excellence, parental rights, privacy, and freedom of conscience. (The […]


A consortium of the most elite high schools in the nation are attempting to build a new kind of computerized high school transcript that will embody more than what they see as the “broken” traditional grades and time-spent model currently in use. The Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) proposes a new transcript model based on three […]


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with the Secretaries of Labor and Commerce, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss government to collaborate in the area of workforce development. Secretary DeVos visited Switzerland in June of this year and was highly complementary of their school-to-work (STW) system, saying that there was much […]


As the push for more school-based mental health intervention increases after recent high profile school shootings, one particularly controversial and inaccurate mental health screening instrument, “TeenScreen”, is starting to make a comeback. Developed by Dr. David Schaffer and other psychiatrists at Columbia University, TeenScreen is a 14-question computerized survey that was heavily used in as […]


Andrew Pollack — father of Meadow Pollack, one of the seventeen students and staff murdered in the Parkland shooting last February — recently posted a two-part video of a fight at Monarch High School in Broward County, Florida: Here is part 1 of the brutal fight at @browardschools. The Promise program implemented by Obama & […]


In June 2017, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit of a Minnesota mother, Annmarie Calgaro, whose then 17-year-old son was emancipated from her by a county and several medical clinics without any due process on the mother’s part. That case was appealed in July 2017 by attorney Erick Kaardal and the Thomas More Society and […]