Common Core’s Data Mining

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Air Date: May, 13 2014

Host: Jim Schneider

Guest: William Estrada

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William Estrada is the Director of Federal Relations with the Home School Legal Defense Association. He is a homeschool graduate who went on to get his Juris Doctor degree. He joined HSLDA in 2004 and is HSLDA’s representative on Capitol Hill. He is an advocate for all homeschoolers before Congress and federal departments. He is also an advocate before Congress for the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar and the California bar.

In an update on Justina Pelletier, Jim announced that yesterday afternoon Justina was transferred by ambulance to the psychiatric wing of the JRI Susan Wayne Center in Thompson, Connecticut. This action, initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Children and Families, is in lieu of putting her in a medical center or returning her to the custody of her family. She is still a ward of the state of Massachusetts for now.

Common Core consists of intense education standards in Math and English Language Arts that were adopted a few years ago behind closed doors by 45 states without a single legislative hearing. In the past year as the standards have begun to be implemented in public schools, as students are being tested and as parents are finding out about the aligned national databases of Common Core, parents and even some teachers and administrators are asking where this came from and why they weren’t involved with it.

Common Core was developed with the help of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They came up with the standards and brought them to the federal government.

After President Obama was elected, a provision called ‘Race to the Top’ was put into the stimulus bill. This created a federal ‘slush fund’ and states that promised to engage in certain education reforms would get more points toward these billions of dollars. One of the provisions states had to promise to do in order to receive ‘race to the top’ grants was adoption of the Common Core.

One concern is the national databases. They’re not part of the Common Core. However, ‘Race to the Top’ created federal incentives for states to adopt the Common Core standards and also included legislation encouraging states to create state longitudinal data systems. These would include data tracking on young people from pre-K to graduation from college.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education quietly rewrote the regulations concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is the 1974 federal statute that protects student and family privacy. In doing so they changed the definition of what entities are allowed to look at personally identifiable information. It used to be only parents and school officials that could view such information. Now it’s ‘…any entity that’s evaluating an educational program’.

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To intervene on behalf of Justina Pelletier contact:

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

John Polanowicz-Secretary of Health and Human Services

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