The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce invited Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project Foundation to speak, on January 30, 2018, about the Foundation’s concerns regarding the collection, use for forecasting student and economic outcomes, sharing, longitudinal study and long-term storage of individual students’ private information. This government collection of student data includes a shift in the focus on academic performance to a focus on behavior, attitudes, beliefs and what is being labeled as “social emotional learning” skills.
Every state has the capacity for a huge data base in their State Longitudinal Data System -SLDS, which was developed with federal stimulus money under the Obama Administration. How is that system being utilized in your state? That is a very important question for parents, students and all citizens to ask. In Oklahoma the SLDS (still referred to by many as the Student Information System) is located in the OMES – Office of Management and Enterprise Services. OMES operates under the direction of the Director of State Finance, Preston Doerflinger, who was appointed by Governor Fallin.
Oklahoma’s SLDS was built by John Kraman who came to our state straight from ACHIEVE, the Washington DC “non-profit”, which wrote Common Core State Standards for the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Kraman told me himself that he served on both the ELA English Language Arts and the Math Standards Writing Committees, which I verified with documents from ACHIEVE. He built Oklahoma’s SLDS according to specifications to align with the Common Core coding system for the Standards and Testing.
The will of the people in Oklahoma was to Stop Common Core and we repealed both the Standards and aligned Testing from our state law in 2014. In spite of that, the current State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, has continued to support and further the development of a Common Core compliant system. She directed the “new” standards writing process which yeilded standards aligned to the same “framework” or “proto-type” as Common Core. The “new” testing for 3rd – 8th grade, which she selected for use in the statewide “accountability” system is the 2015 version of the NAEP National assessment of Education Progress, which was developed by the Obama administration to align with Common Core. Each student’s performance on testing, assessments, behavior, learning activity and other interaction online is recorded and automatically goes into their individual data file.
Jane Robbin’s complete testimony to the Congressional Committee is linked below following these closing remarks, which summarize the urgency of stopping the government’s collection of individual student data: “In conclusion, we certainly recognize the value of unbiased research in pursuit of optimal policymaking. But we ask that Congress continue its protective policies when the subjects of such research are human beings. The goal of benefitting others in society, in vague and theoretical ways, or of “helping” citizens lead their own lives and make their own decisions, does not justify the federal government’s collection and dissemination of millions of data points on individuals–without their consent. This should not be happening in a free country. Some lines should not be crossed regardless of their supposed benefits. This is one of those lines.”