6 Key Takeaways from Congress’ Hearing on Protecting Student Data

Yesterday, the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing titled, “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Data Security: Exploring How Schools and States Keep Data Safe.” Here are some key takeaways: 1.) More leaders are realizing the need to reduce the amount of student data collected. By far, the best witness from a parental rights and pro-privacy perspective was David Couch, Chief Information Officer for the Kentucky Department of Education. A former military cyber security expert, his most cogent remarks had to do with decreasing the amount of data collected: We have put KDE on a “healthy data diet” so that

Over 100 Grassroots Leaders to Congress: Protect Students’ Privacy!

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 property interest that citizens have in their personal data and to recognize that it is not the role or right of government to probe a child’s most personal and sensitive attributes. Emmett McGroarty, senior fellow at American Principles Project and co-author of the new book, Deconstructing

Expanding Unproven “Social Emotional Learning” Will Not Make Schools Safer

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 of the Parkland shooting. Examples of some of their desires related to school safety include: Create space where students feel physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally safe. [Families] We need to feel like we belong and are emotionally and physically safe in our schools so that

OECD Pushes Facebook-Style Personality Profiling of Students Worldwide

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 about schools pushing parents onto the third-party platforms that are based on selling advertising and user data.” Facebook and ed-tech companies view your child as an economic unit, no more, no less, and whether he actually masters any academic content from using their platforms is

“Personalized Learning”: The Big Problem with Education’s Latest Fad

We’re a culture of trend followers, forever chasing the next big thing — whether clothes, cars, food, or fashion. The education sector is no different, racking up failed trend after failed trend in the name of saving education. Take personalized learning, for example, which has been tried again and again in various forms since the 1970s. Nearly 50 years later, the concept continues to offer questionable results for schools and students, yet it won’t seem to go away. AltSchool, founded by a former Google wonk in 2013, is the latest example. A much-heralded network of private pre-K through 8 schools,

APP’s Jane Robbins Reveals Dangers of Gov’t Data Mining to Congress (VIDEO)

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 enormous problems of steering students into certain careers based on predictive algorithms. You can watch her opening statement below:  The video of the whole hearing is available here. Below are some of the strongest points from her opening statement: The Government Has No “Right”

Debunking 5 False Claims About “Social Emotional Learning”

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 to be Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration. Another commission co-chair is former Michigan Governor John Engler, now chairman of the Business Roundtable (BRT), which has long promoted Common Core, SEL skills development, and treating children as widgets in the labor-supply chain. Five “takeaways”

Looking Ahead: 4 Predictions for Education Policy in 2018

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 in the labor supply pipeline, is stark. Data and Psychological Privacy Thanks to you raising your voices amidst the rush to complete work before the Christmas break, the Senate, after completing the tax bill, did not, as some had feared, take up the Orwellian, de