Education-Industrial Complex Continues Assault on Student Privacy

Government and education technology entities are moving ahead with efforts to collect more and more sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) on America’s children and their families. Here is an update on some of those efforts: Weakening of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) According to excellent reporting by Cheri Kiesicker at Missouri Education Watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering removing the parental consent requirement for school technology use. She explains why this is a terrible idea: The FTC is considering several changes, including removing parent consent for edtech. See here (Section E. Question 23 covers the edtech

Senate GOP’s “School Safety” Bill Would Imperil Student Privacy, Expand Police State

In the midst of the impeachment charade, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and a number of his GOP colleagues introduced a bill to address mass shootings. However, privacy groups, particularly those who advocate for student privacy, question the larger effect of the bill. Is it really about mass shootings? Or is it just building a bigger, more invasive police state?    Cornyn’s bill, the RESPONSE Act, is co-sponsored by Republican Sens. McSally (Ariz.), Ernst (Iowa), Tillis (N.C.), Capito (W. Va.), and Scott (S.C.). It has three major components: addressing unlicensed gun dealers and enhanced criminal penalties, developing crisis intervention and mental health services to include

Congress to Reconsider Massive College Student Data Grab

As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the powerful chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, approaches retirement in 2020, he and Congress are making one last push to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). This legislation has been in a stalemate for the last five years. This means that the odious College Transparency Act (CTA – S800/HR1766) that we at The National Pulse, Joy Pullman at The Federalist, The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, and many others have warned about over the last few years is making a comeback. Alexander said as much in his Senate floor

More Schools Discard Student Privacy in Elusive Quest for Safety

As efforts increase to protect school safety in the wake of high-profile school shootings like those in Parkland and Sandy Hook, so do data collection efforts by states and schools that significantly undermine student privacy. A recent article by Education Week outlined several of these efforts across the nation. Particularly disturbing are efforts to monitor students’ social media posts and combine them with the myriad of other data collected on students regarding behavior, discipline, legal encounters, and family status to try to predict violent or suicidal behavior. The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition covered such an effort by the Miami-Dade

Parents Beware: “School Climate Surveys” Pose Many Threats to Students

A recent article by Joy Pullmann in The Federalist demonstrates just how nosy and invasive “school climate surveys” have become. These surveys are now a cornerstone of the implementation of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs in the nation’s public schools and have also been found in Common Core-aligned state tests and (illegally) in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The surveys make use of extremely vague and subjective questions, such as these examples from the Massachusetts state test: As noted by Pullmann, another such survey used in the Austin (Texas) Independent School District usurps parental autonomy and asks the particularly

Lawmakers Still Pushing “Personalized Learning” Despite Huge Problems

The corporate technology push of machine-based skills training continues to march across the nation. This effort goes by the names such as “competency-based education” (CBE), “personalized learning,” and “mastery education.” It has been well described by Jane Robbins, Peter Greene, here and in this space. The latest is a bill in Florida that seeks to expand what was supposed to be a five-year pilot project for four school districts and the University of Florida experimental school to all 67 Florida school districts after only two and a half years. This expansion is problematic, not only because of an absence of

Invasive International Survey Targeting Pre-K Students Is Coming to U.S.

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 Program for International Student Assessment, an international assessment for fifteen-year-olds also conducted by OECD), this assessment is disturbingly comprehensive in the data it seeks to mine from young children and their families. Here is a description of the assessment in 2016 and early 2017 in

New Study Shows Dangers and Ineffectiveness of “Social-Emotional Learning”

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, a professor emeritus of Boston University, who wrote the foreword — came to many important conclusions. Here are some of them highlighted in Pioneer’s press release and video:  Proponents of SEL call for focusing less on academic content and knowledge in schools, and more

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