Parents Win a Victory over SEL Educrats, But the War Isn’t Finished Yet

There is mixed news on the battle against efforts to impose the latest progressive fad of social emotional learning (SEL) on our children. First, the great news: On October 5th, Education Week noticed “No State Will Measure Social-Emotional Learning Under ESSA.” While the author attributes this development to heeding the advice of researchers who have long and correctly argued that SEL assessments should not be used for accountability purposes, she completely ignores the huge groundswell of parent and citizen opposition to this Orwellian idea. I have been honored to work with many education experts, researchers, and activists who have provided

Psychological Profiling of Students Ramps Up — And Parents Have No Idea

It is getting very hard to keep up with all of the ways social emotional learning (SEL) is infiltrating education in America and how the SEL data collection is expanding throughout all grade levels, frequently without parental consent. Here is a brief review: A New Hampshire pediatrician wrote in The Wall Street Journal about how teachers are now performing mental health screening on their students without parental consent or even knowledge. This was also extensively analyzed by Anne Marie Banfield of Cornerstone Action. SEL is inextricably linked to the Common Core standards as admitted by large national organizations like the

Will Congress Protect Student Privacy? 3 Reasons Parents Should Be Worried

The U. S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing last week on “Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy.” This is the latest effort to try to renew the invasive Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA) we warned about so often in the last session of Congress. Sadly, Congress seems to have learned nothing from the parent revolt on data collection and social emotional profiling that blocked the bill. While there will be a more detailed report coming soon, here are three important initial observations: 1.) The government still believes it is entitled to your

Memo to Big Data: Parents Are Furious — Not Fearful — About Data-Mining

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 student databases at the state or national level were established or proposed, which drew great public scrutiny and fear. This maelstrom yielded a tremendous output of legislative activity targeted at education technology companies, that was overwhelmingly focused on protecting and limiting the sharing and use of student

Government-Sponsored “Research” Putting Children’s Privacy At Risk

Much has been written about the dangers of the proposed Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA), especially the bill’s extension of student data-collection to socioemotional data. But parents should realize the broader privacy problems with government-sponsored education “research.” Student data-privacy is supposedly protected on the federal level by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In 2012, however, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) gutted FERPA via Obama administration regulation. Among other outrages, the new regulation allows USED (and other entities) to take student personally identifiable information they receive from states or educational institutions and redisclose that data to researchers, without

Why Does Congress Want to Psychologically Profile Your Children?

If the GOP-led Congress had not done enough damage to public education by passing the statist Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it’s poised to make things even worse. The new threat is the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA). If SETRA passes in its current form, the federal government will be empowered to expand psychological profiling of our children. Parents must understand this threat so they can mobilize to stop it. SETRA is a proposed reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act, which created bureaucracies and funding for education research (the results of which are routinely ignored if they contradict

Jeb Bush’s Friends Spend Big to Support Student Data Grab

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 corporate-backed front group that spends all its time trying to portray the ugly and invasive womb-to-tomb data grab and psychological profiling of our children as helpful, necessary, and the government’s right. They strongly support the incredibly invasive Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA) which sadly

Four Reasons Why Student Privacy Is in Grave Danger — Unless Congress Rejects This Bill

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 to collect, analyze, and share the most intimate details about our children — the workings of their minds. Concern about SETRA derailed its passage earlier this year. But just before adjournment for the Christmas holidays, while everyone was reeling from the Every Student Succeeds Act