Florida Seeks to Expand Ineffective Mental Health Screening in Schools

As discussed a few weeks ago in this space, the state of Texas is ramping up its school-based mental health screening and research using students as guinea pigs. And as predicted after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting and the ill-considered law passed there, the same effort is starting to happen in the Sunshine State. The Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) held a conference to discuss how to expand school-based mental health that was attended by the state’s 67 superintendents as well as several legislators and agency heads. Broward County Superintendent and FADSS president Robert Runcie led the meeting.

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

Parents Beware: Mental Screening of Students Ramps Up in Texas

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, privacy, and freedom of conscience. The first program from Texas Tech University, was described by Politico as follows: USING TELEMEDICINE TO SCREEN FOR KIDS ‘ABOUT TO BLOW’: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Tedd Mitchell shared glowing reviews of a telemedicine-based violence prevention program while

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

Congress Explodes Deficits, Expands Nanny State with Disastrous Omnibus Bill

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 — that will only fund the government for six months — by a vote of 256-197. The Senate followed early this morning with a vote of 65-32. The damage this bill will do the nation’s fiscal health and to issues outside of education is well discussed

Has Washington Forgotten About the Right to Privacy?

This article is part of a series focusing on Lens of Liberty, a project of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation. In her Liberty Minute titled “Browsing the Fourth Amendment,” Helen Krieble sheds light on the government’s failure to regulate private companies who regularly violate Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights: Do you want telemarketers to know what you searched for online? Should strangers be able to access your financial information? The current national debate about peoples’ internet browsing privacy is a bedrock principles issue. Some private companies like Google and Facebook collect data from their customers and sell it to advertisers without

Turning Teachers Into Psychotherapists Will Not Prevent School Shootings

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 criminal background checks as well as a psychiatric evaluation. These were recommendations that came from three task forces put together by Governor Rick Scott that met last week. The gun control debate and proposal to arm teachers dominated the discussion while the very dangerous and

Trump’s Budget Cuts Fed Role in Education — But Will Congress Follow His Lead?

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 of fiscal discipline, as documented by the budget deal discussed last week that will only increase the $21 trillion deficit. So unfortunately, this budget will likely be dead on arrival in Congress unless citizens act. Here are some highlights that activists can use as starting

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