Why do so many good leaders and groups push “Choice”?

“Choice” has become popular – the easy and quick answer to “fix” education but many who know the details of the programs under the banner of “Choice” and have experience with education policy realize it includes some programs that are dangerous to freedom and is spreading so rapidly because it is being marketed heavily with big financial support.
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If you just listen to television, radio and follow what your usual trusted state or federal officials say, you will think Choice is ALL wonderful. You will think the only people who oppose it are the political left. You will be wrong.
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There are many on the political right, conservatives, Christians who do not support everything being pushed as “Choice”. As with all state and federal legislation, “Choice” must be looked at closely, studied and researched while always knowing the “devil is in the details”.
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Almost everyone has heard it said that “Choice” is about giving parents the choice to decide and about freeing children who are trapped in horrible schools. I know and understand the concepts that attract people. I am not against Charter public Schools in certain inner city situations. But did you know:
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  • Charter public schools do NOT have elected school boards that give parents the legal right to participate in the governing of the school, as “regular” public schools do.
  • Charter public schools include a network of schools affiliated with a highly controversial Turkish muslim leader named Gullen.
  • Charter public schools may eliminate most teachers and use computer based curriculum and or students teaching each other in groups.
  • Charter public schools are often run by corporations for profit and which do not have to comply with the FOIA – Freedom of Information Act that is required of government agencies to open their records for finances and other information the public should know, but “regular public schools” do.
  • Charter public schools are promoted as “better” in academics and graduation rates than “regular public schools” but are not always.
  • Charter public schools do NOT have the same regulations or requirements that “regular public schools” must comply with and cannot be compared honestly as competing on a “level field”.
  • Charter public schools have been “incentivized” in some legislation by paying the founders a guaranteed percentage of the government funds, taken off the top each year.
  • Charter public schools turn away students but “regular public schools” do not and cannot.

So…. Charter public schools operate with tax dollars but are not held to accountability like “regular public schools” and cannot be compared as though they were on an equal or level field yet “regular public schools” are being evaluated and set to close down if they do not perform. They are responsible for all students that come to them regardless of the problems the students bring with them or the extra cost involved. Regular public schools are criticized and condemned by many who do not realize that they don’t have all the facts needed to make a comparison.

Another “Choice” program is Education Savings Accounts -ESAs. A current effort is underway to pass legislation to give ESAs to homeschools and private schools. This is a very dangerous move, which will take away their freedom from government control.

Don’t buy the idea of free government money. It does not exist. IF you take ESAs you take government money and then you get regulation. This is a fact. All government money is “our money” first….. then it goes to the government…. once the government has it… it only comes back in programs with strings/regulations. Homeschools and Private Schools will be regulated by the government IF they take government ESA money!

I will end by saying, I know many of the state and federal officials who are pushing legislation to expand “Choice” programs. I know most of them have very good intentions and they think they are helping parents and students, which is their goal. I do not attribute bad intentions to their efforts. There are a few of them, however, whom I have heard say we should eliminate public schools and replace them with these Choice programs. Folks this is an absolutely wrong headed idea.

There are many reasons it won’t work which include the above that I have already listed. We must study, research, discuss and debate the issues and details involved in making changes to our education system. We are and have been suffering for years from too much experimentation now. We should not jump into ideas and start trying them out without thorough research FIRST!

Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator http://www.lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com

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Social Emotional Learning Tests

By: Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator

Introduction:  This article was first published in “The Oklahoma Constitution” in the Spring 2016 Issue and was entitled: “How will Oklahoma’s K-12 Students be Tested?”  Oklahoma pulled out of the highly controversial Federal backed PARCC Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in Careers and College Consortium testing in 2013. In May of 2014 the Common Core State Standards were removed from law and a mandate for new  non-common core standards and aligned testing was put into law. Now…..the new student testing trend on the national level is expanding into the Social Emotional Learning area. This is not acceptable to the majority of Oklahoma parents and teachers who know about it nor by many other American citizens.

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Student testing is in transition across America. We typically think of students taking tests so we can see if they have learned the facts, knowledge, information and academic skills expected at their grade level. Today, however, there are major efforts being made to test more…… much more. Before we go there and jump on “the newest bandwagon” we need to take a very close look. We should step back and ask “Why are we testing students? What do we need to know about students and why do we need to know it?”

There is great anxiety growing among teachers and parents in several states because testing is being expanded into what is called “Soft Skills” or “Social and Emotional Learning” (SEL). This new testing is being added to tests required by some states as part of their accountability system. SEL testing can also be embedded into curriculum sold directly to schools in states where SEL testing isn’t required.

SEL testing is frequently found in programs delivered by computer software or online but can also be found in pencil and paper tests or in simple surveys printed on paper. Social and Emotional Learning involves psychological or behavioral performance, which is classified in the “Affective Domain” and includes emotions, feelings, attitudes, values and beliefs.

The goals used in traditional teaching and testing are from the “Cognitive Domain” including mental skills used in academics. For years, teachers have been writing and teaching traditional lessons focused on skills in the Cognitive Domain.

In my college courses I learned to write Individualized Education Plans, IEPs, for students with special learning needs. Students with IEPs had individualized traditional cognitive or academic goals but also sometimes had needs for “Affective” or behavioral goals and at times they needed goals from the Psycho-motor Domain or manual/physical skills. (These three domains are from “Bloom’s Taxonomy” classification system.)

Never….ever… would I (nor any professional educator) write plans, test or train a student in the Affective or Psycho-motor skills without parental consent. It is illegal and potentially dangerous to work with students in the psychological area of emotions, feelings, attitudes, values and beliefs except with parental consent and a certified professional administering the test and interpretation of test results. The student’s test results and IEP are called “confidential files” and are kept in locked cabinets. I always guard the key for security. But now under President Obama’s administration, states have created State Longitudinal Data Systems where even confidential student information can be stored if state officials allow it.

We are entering an era of unprecedented efforts to deliver testing and training for students via technology. Instead of being certain that a certified professional educator who knows and cares about your child will be in the classroom making a final decision about what your child is given, we now must consider that more and more teachers are being moved to the side while technology delivered programs take center stage.

In some programs critical decisions that affect your child’s future are being made without the classroom teacher’s input. In those situations the teacher may not have an opportunity to see or evaluate what their students will see and be learning while sitting at the computer.

Some of the newest technology is delivering “adaptive” curriculum and assessments containing SEL items. These computer delivered programs will “adapt” and become individualized to each student’s performance level as they respond to tasks on the screen. Other new interactive programs are designed like games where the student responds to a screen display and their performance is recorded. There are games being designed to score both psychological and academic skills for a “fun” and often undetected form of testing.

As I said in the opening…… Before we go there and join “the newest bandwagon” we need to take a very close look. We should step back and ask: Why are we testing students? What do we need to know about students and why do we need to know it?

This is just the tip of the iceberg as we consider challenges in choosing the best direction for Oklahoma Public Schools and we strive to provide unlimited opportunities for all students to learn to the best of their individual ability in a safe school environment.


Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator, is a leader in grassroots politics in Oklahoma. She led the repeal of Outcomes Based Education from state law in 1995 and helped lead the repeal of Common Core State Standards in 2014. She is a strong proponent of a full and well-rounded education for students using proven methods as well as local control of education and parents’ rights.

Linda Murphy has served as Education Advisor to the Governor of Oklahoma and as Deputy Commissioner of Labor for Workforce Education and Training. She has been a certified teacher for 30 years. Linda works with students who have learning difficulties including visual perception problems and developmental delays. She is certified in testing and training students to develop their skills using the SOI -Structure of Intellect program. She has spoken to hundreds of groups of parents and teachers about education, child development, vision and learning, education policy and politics around the state and nation.

STOP Illegally Funded -Federal Common Core Curriculum

President Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have used excessive amounts of “stimulus” money to push the biggest ever Federal advancement of control over the classrooms across America and even over what our children will learn. The Federal control has advanced into curriculum and that is now documented in a published article from Stanford University as described below. Standards, testing and curriculum funded by the Federal government are aligned to Common Core, even while states are repealing Common Core Standards from their state law, as we have in the state of Oklahoma.

One of the most basic guarantees of our American Constitution is that States have all Rights of government not specifically given to the Federal government. Education policy is a Local and State Right, NOT a Federal government Right and most importantly it is the Right of parents to determine education for their own child. Parents’ Rights can only be maintained if we maintain Local Control of education where a locally elected school board is accountable to the citizens of the local school district. This is especially important because of the increased curriculum changes that contain political and even religious worldviews which are pushed into textbooks, worksheets and online (where parents and often teacher never even see them). These materials are intentionally designed to “change” the attitudes, values and beliefs of students. President Obama has already announced that he is changing the NAEP -National Assessment of Education Progress testing given in public schools to include behavioral/ affective assessment items in the future. 1

The rewriting of the huge ever expanding Federal government education bill, ESEA -Elementary and Secondary Education Act (including NCLB -No Child Left Behind) has not yet passed both houses of Congress. The battle and debates for States’ Rights and Local Control vs Federal Control, which are going on in Congress with the ESEA rewrite, have been widely reported. Currently presidential candidates are staking out their positions on Common Core and other education plans. Common Core supporters are suffering in the polls. In November 2016 we will have a new president who will set the direction for the Federal Department of Education. Candidates who are listening to the American people are hearing strong opposition to federal education. Other candidates are barreling ahead with their agenda for education in spite of wide-spread opposition.

Those of us fighting to STOP the Federal Government control of education must continue to work to educate, expose and assert state, local and parents’ Rights while we continue to urge U.S. Senate and House members to join us to set our children free from the centrally controlled Common Core aligned system.

We have repeatedly been told that Common Core State Standards are “just standards” as though they stood alone but that is not true. Common Core Standards are just one component of an entire system of “transformation” of education into a globally aligned system centrally controlled according to specifications from multi-national corporations for the workforce. 2

This transformation which was first rolled out through Common Core marketed as “high standards” and “state led” standards through governors and the National Governors Association is being rejected by parents, teachers, state legislators and others around the country. 3

As we keep seeing the “wheels come off” of the Common Core “bandwagon”, another documented revelation has come to the surface. The following statements are published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review by author Joanne Weiss, who boasts of her accomplishments in advancing the social engineering agenda of President Obama. 4

…..“New curriculum materials funded through Race to the Top and released in 2014 are already in use in 20 percent of classrooms nationwide.”This is a quote from, Joanne Weiss, the woman who was in charge of the program at the Federal Department of Education.

She said “Working with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, I led Race to the Top from its inception through 2010. At that point, we had awarded all of the grant money that was available under the program. I then served as chief of staff to the secretary through mid-2013, and during that period I remained involved in the program’s implementation. Today, six years after the launch of the initiative, we can start to place its achievements—and, in some cases, its missteps—in perspective.”

  1. “STOP PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MOVE INTO “THE DARK SIDE OF NATIONAL TESTING” https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/obama-administration-advancing-the-dark-side-of-national-testing/
  2. “The Chamber of Commerce and National Governors Association Global Workforce Plans” https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/the-chamber-of-commerce-and-national-governors-association-global-workforce-plans/
  3. “Common Core in Oklahoma” (“state led” Common Core “stakeholders”) http://www.oklahomaconstitution.com/ns.php?nid=459&commentary=1
  4. “ Competing Principles” -Stanford University Report on RTTT and federally funded curriculum: http://ssir.org/articles/entry/competing_principles

U S SENATE -Controversial SB-1177 Education Act passes by 81 VOTES -What’s Next?

The U.S. Senate has ended the consideration of their legislation to rewrite the mammoth Elementary and Secondary Education Act -ESEA by passing SB-1177 named the “Every Child Achieves Act” -ECAA. The Act includes the highly controversial NCLB -No Child Left Behind and the widely supported Title 1 through Title 10 programs– containing Reading programs, Indian Tribal aid and Military Base Impact aid for public schools, as well as many other areas of funding, in a complex collection of programs.

The high level process, which came to the Senate floor ten days ago, was skillfully led by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander -TN, who was Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush.  Alexander is a long time “national education plan” supporter, former Governor, former Chair of the National Governors Association -NGA (which created Common Core) and former ally with the Clinton administration agenda for education.  Alexander co-authored the bill with Democrat Senator Debbie Murray -WA. Murray with all the other Democrats voted to keep federal control of Education.  That vote is seen clearly in the rejection (54 to 44) of Republican Senator Daines’ Amendment 2110, which would have gutted NCLB’s Federal Control on July 9.  Alexander with eight Republicans joined the Democrats on that vote to stop the amendment.  https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/republican-senators-try-but-fail-to-let-states-opt-out-of-federal-accountability-controls/

One of the Democrat supported amendments which failed to get enough Republicans to pass, Senator Al Franken’s Amendment 2193, would have expanded federal control to include regulations regarding discrimination against LGBT students. At the end of the process, Senator Alexander slid into home base with his bill SB-1177 after pressuring, persuading, listening and opening the process to receive 190 amendments.  The vast majority of those amendments did not get an individual hearing by the full senate but the ones which did are listed below.

During the debate and passage of the bill, thousands of calls, letters, emails and tweets against and for SB-1177 were received by Senators who had to decide how to vote at each point of the process and how to cast their final vote on the complex collection of programs that should never have been contained in one very diversified and huge package, in my opinion.  That is one of the reasons we end up with very bad laws.  NCLB -No Child Left Behind could probably have been defeated and repealed if it were not contained in ESEA with all of the other programs that are highly supported.  Of course, those who voted for Federal Control over our schools know that!

House ESEA rewrite bill HR-5 has already passed and the final bill to reauthorize ESEA will be the product of decisions made in the days ahead.  https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/washington-has-prove-time-and-again-that-it-doesnt-know-best-passage-of-hr-5-education-bill/

The final ESEA rewrite could end up being acceptable or unacceptable to a majority of members of the combined House and Senate.  Then the President can sign or veto any bill that reaches his desk.   He has already said he will veto the House bill HR-5, which does away with more federal control than the Senate bill SB-1177.

This huge Senate bill will be discussed and dissected for days and years to come.  It is important to find out in your own state, what your Senators voted for and against.  Not just their final vote on the bill but on the amendments as well.  Some Senators who highly oppose the federal control of education voted for the bill knowing they had taken out as much federal control as they could in the current Senate.  The NCLB -No Child Left Behind Act was added to ESEA under President Geo. W. Bush and the split in support and opposition to it in the Republican party will continue to be heard in the Presidential Primary.  Senators Ted Cruz -TX and Rand Paul -KY have their voting record on this bill to show their determination to STOP Federal Control of Education.  The battle is over on SB-1177 but many battles lie ahead on Federal and State control over our schools and our children’s lives.

Here is what Republican Senator Chuck Grassley -IA, a longtime fighter for Local Control of education said about one part of SB-1177 where Federal Control is removed:

“It eliminates the very specific mandates on states requiring that they evaluate schools based on test scores and apply federally designed interventions.  States will be free to design their own assessment and accountability systems.  The bill retains the requirement that states test annually in grades 3-8, which I understand was necessary to get a bipartisan agreement.  However, states will have wide discretion in how they design their assessments.  And, the elimination of the federally mandated school interventions that raise the stakes on the test results will reduce teaching to the test.  This bill also consolidates federal funding in a way that provides more latitude to local school districts to better meet their individual needs, although less so than in the House-passed bill,” ” — Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican -Iowa

Amendments Passed and Rejected on SB-1177 (190 amendments were filed, these were brought to a vote) U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 114th Congress – 1st Session (2015)

Vote (Tally) Result Question: Description Issue Date
249 (81-17) Passed On Passage of the Bill: S. 1177 As Amended; An original bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves. S. 1177 Jul 16
248 (79-18) Agreed to On the Cloture Motion: Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 1177; An original bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves. S. 1177 Jul 16
247 (45-52) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2242: Casey Amdt. No. 2242; To establish a Federal-State partnership to provide access to high-quality public prekindergarten programs from low-income and moderate-income families to ensure that they enter kindergarten prepared for success, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 16
246 (53-44) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2100: Brown Amdt. No. 2100; To amend title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a full-service community schools grant program. S. 1177 Jul 16
245 (59-39) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2247: Burr Amdt. No. 2247 As Modified; To amend the allocation of funds under subpart 2 of part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. S. 1177 Jul 16
244 (68-30) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2243: Coons Amdt. No. 2243; To authorize the establishment of American Dream Accounts. S. 1177 Jul 16
243 (43-55) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2177: Sanders Amdt. No. 2177; To provide for youth jobs, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 16
242 (40-58) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2180: Cruz Amdt. No. 2180; To provide for State-determined assessment and accountability systems, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 16
241 (43-54) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2241: Murphy Amdt. No. 2241; To amend the accountability provisions. S. 1177 Jul 15
240 (46-50) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2161: Kirk Amdt. No. 2161; To ensure that States measure and report on indicators of student access to critical educational resources and identify disparities in such resources, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 15
239 (58-39) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2171: Heitkamp Amdt. No. 2171; To reinstate grants to improve the mental health of children. S. 1177 Jul 15
238 (44-53) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2176: Markey Amdt. No. 2176; To establish a climate change education program. S. 1177 Jul 15
237 (86-12) Agreed to On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 2089: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Alexander Amdt. No. 2089; In the nature of a substitute. S. 1177 Jul 15
236 (52-45) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2093: Franken Amdt. No. 2093; To end discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. S. 1177 Jul 14
235 (32-64) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2162: Lee Amdt No. 2162; To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 relating to parental notification and opt-out of assessments. S. 1177 Jul 14
234 (97-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2194: Isakson Amdt. No. 2194; To require local educational agencies to inform parents of any State or local educational agency policy, procedure, or parental right regarding student participation in any mandated assessments for that school year. S. 1177 Jul 14
233 (56-40) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2169: Booker Amdt. No. 2169; To require a State’s report card to include information on the graduation rates of homeless children and children in foster care. S. 1177 Jul 14
232 (45-51) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2132: Scott Amdt. No. 2132; To expand opportunity by allowing Title I funds to follow low-income children. S. 1177 Jul 14
231 (89-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2080: Hatch Amdt. No. 2080; To establish a committee on student privacy policy. S. 1177 Jul 13
228 (98-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2094: Toomey Amdt. No. 2094 As Modified; To ensure that States have policies or procedures that prohibit aiding or abetting of sexual abuse, and for other purposes. S. 1177 Jul 09
227 (98-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2099: Brown Amdt. No. 2099; To amend part A of title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to allow funds provided under such part to be used for a site resource coordinator. S. 1177 Jul 09
226 (44-54) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2110: Daines Amdt. No. 2110; To allow a State to submit a declaration of intent to the Secretary of Education to combine certain funds to improve the academic achievement of students. S. 1177 Jul 09
225 (45-52) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2139: Alexander Amdt. No. 2139; To allow States to let Federal funds for the education of disadvantaged children follow low-income children to the accredited or otherwise State-approved public school, private school, or supplemental educational services program they attend. S. 1177 Jul 08
224 (56-41) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2107: Tester Amdt. No. 2107; To restore sections of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. S. 1177 Jul 08
223 (47-50) Rejected On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2109: Hirono Amdt. No. 2109; To amend section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) to provide for additional disaggregation for local educational agencies with a total of not less than 1,000 Asian and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students. S. 1177 Jul 08
222 (98-0) Agreed to On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2085: Reed. Amdt. No. 2085; To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 regarding school librarians and effective school library programs. S. 1177 Jul 08

REPUBLICAN SENATORS TRY… BUT FAIL TO LET STATES OPT OUT OF FEDERAL “ACCOUNTABILITY” CONTROLS

In a vote of 44 to 54, the U.S. Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have given state legislators the ability to opt their states out of the federal controls of SB-1177 ECAA -Every Child Achieves Act, the current Senate version of the reauthorization of ESEA -Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including the highly controversial NCLB -No Child Left Behind.

This vote is a picture of the “high-noon” showdown, which isn’t over yet, in this battle between those who believe the federal control is necessary to improve education and those who believe the federal control has never improved education and the authority belongs in states and local communities.

Ted Cruz-TX, Rand Paul-KY, Jim Inhofe-OK, James Lankford-OK and other Republicans(total 44 Yea) voted to pass the control to states.  Republican Lamar Alexander-TN and 8 other Republicans (Capito-WV, Cochran-MS, Collins-ME, Corker-TN, Hatch-UT, Kirk-IL, Murkowski-AK and Portman-OH) joined the 45 Democrats (total 54 Nay) who voted to keep the federal control.  So now we see the “strong bi-partisan support” that Lamar Alexander keeps talking about!!!  9 Republicans and 45 Democrats in consensus is not what Republicans expect our majority party in the Senate to achieve!!

This battle is not over!  Please thank and support those Senators who are standing for LOCAL CONTROL of education. Encourage them to keep fighting for the parents, teachers and students who want freedom to teach and learn.  Please contact those Senators who are NOT supporting LOCAL CONTROL and tell them why they should!  The Senate will be meeting again Monday, July 13, at 3:00 pm to vote on more amendments.

A link to the Senate vote on the amendment:  http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=114&session=1&vote=00226

The first part of the following article below from Education Week gives some details about the amendment battle, then describes other amendments to SB-1177.

“Senate Rebuffs ESEA Amendment to Let States Opt Out of Federal Accountability”

“Day Three of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization debate in the U.S. Senate opened and closed in the span of a few short hours Thursday, with the chamber passing 14 amendments and rejecting one that underscored the precarious path co-authors Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., must traverse to maintain the bipartisan nature of the bill.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., offered the highly contentious A PLUS Act amendment, which would have allowed states to opt out of federal accountability entirely and send funding under the current law back to states in the form of block grants.

“It will help expand local control of our schools and return federal education dollars where they belong, closer to the classroom,” Daines said. “States would be freed from Washington-knows-best requirements.”

And Sen. Mike Lee, R- Utah, chimed in, arguing that unless the amendment was adopted, the underlying bill would have “the same disappointing results of No Child Left Behind [the current iteration of ESEA].”

But Alexander slammed the proposal, knowing full well that if adopted it would sink his chances of getting the ESEA reauthorization across the finish line. “This is unnecessary, misintentioned, won’t pass, and undermines the bipartisan agreement that we’ve reached,” he quickly quipped before putting it up for a vote.

As Alexander predicted (and as was widely assumed), the proposal, which needed to overcome a 60-vote threshold, failed, 44-54.

The same amendment also failed to garner enough votes during the ESEA reauthorization debate Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Notably, Alexander postponed a vote on an amendment from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that would have allowed states to cross-tabulate student achievement data for subgroups of students.

What does that mean? It means that things like graduation rate and academic assessment data would be not only disaggregated, but also segmented by more than one subgroup, such as by race and gender together, or by gender and disability together, or by race and disability together.

The proposal is one of several that the White House, civil rights groups, the Council of State Chief School Officers, and others are hoping will be adopted in order to beef up accountability in the underlying bill.

Alexander said he’d like to postpone the vote in order to work with Warren and Murray to finesse some of the language in the amendment. The fact that Alexander thinks they could strike a deal bodes well for the proposal on the whole, and if adopted, would go a long way in appeasing some of the major accountability concerns that Democrats, civil rights groups, and others have with the bill.

Want to know more? Here is a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent to senators Thursday.  The other high-profile item of the day was a background check amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., which he modified overnight amid stiff opposition to the entire proposal.

Originally, the amendment would have required criminal background checks of all school employees as well as prohibit states from a practice known as “passing the trash,” in which a school allows a known child molester to resign quietly and helps that person find a new teaching job.

Toomey has unsuccessfully offered the amendment to several bills in hopes that it becomes law. But senators on both sides of the aisle have opposed the specific language of the background-check portion, arguing that it would constrain schools’ ability to hire, and would create costly and redundant paperwork. Instead, they’ve favored similar proposals from Alexander and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Ultimately, however, Toomey agreed to remove the background-check language from the amendment and offer only the portion prohibiting schools from passing on known criminal offenders.

“We have had many long, often difficult conversations,” conceded Toomey. “We started in what seemed like irreconcilable differences on this issue. Despite the stiff opposition there was at times, we were able to find common ground.”

The amendment passed unanimously, 98-0.

Here are some additional amendments that passed without much debate or fanfare by voice vote:

  • An amendment from Sen. Sherrod Brown, R-Ohio, that would allow the use of federal funds to put school coordinator resources in schools. PASSED 98-0;
  • An amendment from Sen. Rob Portman, D-Ore., that would provide supports for students addicted to drugs. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., that would make career and technical education a core subject. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would allow school authorities to certify that a student is homeless. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that would allow schools to use federal funds on programs that promote volunteerism and community service. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., that would prevent federal intrusion into how local schools are governed. PASSED via voice vote;
  • An amendment from Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., that would require states to submit their Title I and Title II plans to governors for review. PASSED via voice vote.

Alexander and Murray also offered a slate of pre-agreed upon amendments under unanimous consent, which the Senate adopted en bloc, without votes:

  • An amendment from Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., that allows funds to be used for dual or concurrent enrollment programs;
  • An amendment from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in other states without completing additional licensures;
  • An amendment from Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that increases access to STEM for underrepresented groups of students;
  • An amendment from Gardner regarding charter school representatives;
  • An amendment from Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., that ensures that if a child with disabilities needs an adaptive device to take a test that the child is familiar with the device before the test day;
  • An amendment from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., that allows districts to create STEM specialty schools or STEM specific programs within schools.

In addition, Alexander and Murray readied a new slate of six amendments, two of which they scheduled for a vote Monday evening.”

U.S. Senate & House *** STOP FEDERAL EDUCATION TESTING NOW

HELP STOP Federal Education Testing!

Please Call, Write, Email and Tweet your Senators and Congressmen

#StopFedTesting        #StopNCLB

The bill for ESEA and NCLB (Elementary and Secondary Education Act / No Child Left Behind act) is scheduled for a VOTE on July 7th in the U.S. Senate and also for July 7th in the House Rules Committee so the whole House could vote as soon as July 8th. Tell Senators and Congressmen to —

STOP ALL FEDERAL INVOLVEMENT, CONTROL, OVERSIGHT, REVIEW, REVISION, REQUIREMENTS and FUNDING of STUDENT TESTING.

Here are three of the very intrusive Federal Tentacles in K-12th grade public school student testing, which also affect curriculum because it must be changed to align with testing for students to perform well on the tests:

  1. The Federal Department of Education funded student testing along with Bill Gates, through CCSSO -Council of Chief State School Officers which established two testing consortia.  They developed testing which the Federal Department of Education is now “reviewing and revising” according to Education Week, April 2013.  These Federally funded and controlled tests are now being rejected in state after state and are known as: PARCC -Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Careers and College and the SBAC -Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia testing.  These are Common Core tests.
  2. The new Senate version of the ESEA/ NCLB mandates even MORE Federal Control over student testing than the already extremely oppressive testing. As Jane Robbins with the American Principles Project said: “The bill is dubbed the “Every Child Achieves Act” (ECAA). This bill maintains NCLB’s requirement of administering annual assessments in English and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. But ECAA doesn’t ignore the “opt out” movement – in fact, it adds language that effectively encourages the states to lower the boom on noncompliant students and parents.Under ECAA (as under NCLB), state assessments must “[m]easure the annual progress of not less than 95% of all students . . . .” But while NCLB applies this requirement only to the subset of low-income schools that receive federal Title I funding, ECAA extends the requirement to all schools by making it part of the mandatory state accountability system. If ECAA passes, expect USED to ramp up its threats against states that have too many opt-outs and thus fail in their commitment to ensure 95% participation.” http://townhall.com/columnists/janerobbins/2015/06/30/alexander-murray-bill-tightens-the-screws-of-mandated-assessments-n2018919
  3. NAEP -National Assessment of Education Progress is being dangerously changed to include behavioral assessments.  President Obama and the Federal Department of Education have released information regarding their plans to include student testing in the areas of attitudes, values, beliefs, emotions, feelings, motivations and other “affective” domain responses.  Education Week reports “The nation’s premiere federal testing program is poised to provide a critical window into how students’ motivation, mindset, and grit can affect their learning… The background survey will include five core areas—grit, desire for learning, school climate, technology use, and socioeconomic status—of which the first two focus on a student’s noncognitive skills, and the third looks at noncognitive factors in the school. These core areas would be part of the background survey for all NAEP test-takers. In addition, questions about other noncognitive factors, such as self-efficacy and personal achievement goals, may be included…”   (State Plans are also being pushed to include these assessments in a statewide counseling program for ALL students K-12 grade.  See Alabama’s plan which has been stopped for now and more about President Obama’s plan for rolling this out in 2017 in recent articles listed below.)

Strong and clear language must be included in ESEA to set our public education system FREE from this oppressive Centralized control!  This is A GOAL WE CAN WIN –Because the ESEA/NCLB is being “rewritten” and “reauthorized”.  We can fight for a STOP to the Federal Testing mandates and win with the nationwide opposition which has developed. Under NCLB national “accountability” requirements have driven more and more testing with great amounts of time increasingly consumed from teaching and learning.  In addition Common Core tests from PARCC, SBAC and other vendors have been disastrous in taking the focus from academics and placing it on processing and other philosophical shifts. Student scores have plummeted in many states due to the shift. Find out where your Congressmen and Senators stand on these Federal testing issues. Get their commitment to Stop Federal Education Testing!   We must continue to work to inform those Senators and Congressmen who are “buying in” to the false idea that a centralized national system for accountability (which means TESTING) in education will somehow make it better.  The evidence over time has proven that is not true. Along with the testing/assessing, the student response data is being collected and stored to be shared with other entities as officials determine, adding to the great concern and opposition nationwide.   We still have much work to do to eliminate the federal education “noose around the neck” of local public schools and states that are standing up for their state rights to re-establish Local Control of education.  Today we have an opportunity to shape the ESEA/NCLB bill into one that eliminates the federal control over testing and thus the curriculum aligned to testing, which is all being done in the name of “accountability”.

LET’s CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE and get busy on this bill!

Should the federal or state government determine your child’s MENTAL HEALTH? Alabamans say NO!

The Federal Government and some state governments are working on plans being promoted as needed solutions to solve ALL problems with children.  This is a rapidly growing movement fueled by more and more sophisticated technology being used to gather more and more data on children in K-12 public schools. These kids are a captive audience because they are naturally expected to follow instructions given by the adults in charge. Students often don’t even know when the computer program or class survey they are working on is aimed at gathering their personal and “private” information.

The student responses are evaluated to determine if this child is At Risk?  Disadvantaged?  an Under achiever? Bullied? Depressed? a Victim of Social Injustice? In Danger? has Special Needs? or Neglected? If so they can “fit” into the categories where federal, state or foundation money is coming in to pay for their treatment. It all fits nicely into boxes and graphs whose variables or descriptors* have been pre-determined. The more problems….. the more money needed…. and so on and on it goes.

By delving deeper and deeper into an individual child’s personal life more information is gained for use by those who want no limits on their social engineering quest to find and fix all they designate as a problem. BUT… parents are learning these social engineers are now crossing the line!

Alabamans got a look at the “Comprehensive” plan for “wrap around services” for ALL children K-12 in Alabama. They saw that each child’s mental health would be assessed and goals for fixing what becomes labeled as problems with attitude, values, beliefs and character would then be a regular part of their child’s individualized school curriculum!  What??? Yes… it’s true.

We can thank the Alabama citizens who rose up to put the brakes on and at least temporarily STOP the plan in their state. On June 11, 2015 the Alabama State School Board was originally planning to vote on the comprehensive plan but there was no vote taken due to opposition.  There is a long list of reasons to oppose such a crossing of the line by the government… whether it is state or national.  In fact, NCLB -No Child Left Behind pushed this idealogy forward by advancing the federal governments role in student testing.  There is no legal basis for the federal government to be involved in testing, which also affects the curriculum.  NCLB needs to be removed from the ESEA -Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The national plans that President Obama is bringing forward to roll out in 2017 are of the same philosophy found in the Alabama plan. The plans include psychological testing in NAEP -National Assessment of Educational Progress, which has been administered since 1969.  (hmmmm 2017….. That would be just after we have elected a new president….. guess they wouldn’t be responsible for the psychological testing then would they?)

The Alabama plan could have been used as a National Model according to the UCLA Center for School Mental Health and the American School Counselors Association which allied with Alabama’s State Superintendent Tommy Bice, who serves at the pleasure of the State School board under Governor Bentley who is the Board President.

Please read the other links on this site and you will learn much more about the reality we are facing. The evidence is all there and you can verify it all for yourself. We now must see and rise up to stop these plans that intrude into the mind, will and emotions of every child – their very soul! We must not let these policies get a stronghold on our states and in our nation!  Let’s Rise UP and Stop it!

Thank you Alabamans for exposing this and putting on the brakes in your state!

* de·scrip·tor   noun
  1. an element or term that has the function of describing, identifying, or indexing,                   in particular.
    • Linguistics –a word or expression used to describe or identify something.
    • Computing –a piece of stored data that indicates how other data is stored.
      (definition by Google)

ALL STUDENTS TO HAVE GOALS FOR MENTAL HEALTH in ALABAMA – NATIONAL MODEL

The Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Model for Alabama Public Schools

or State K-12 Mental Health Plan now called

“A Unified and Comprehensive System of Learning Supports for Alabama Students” 

—————————————

ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs

ASCA – American School Counselor Association

This paper is a short summary taken directly from the complete document, which is linked below.  This document was produced by State Superintendent Bice.  Please read this summary and consider the loss of parental authority and the extreme level of intrusion into the personal life of every child in K-12th grade in Alabama Public Schools which will occur if this model is accepted by the Alabama State School Board. (The vote for this plan was scheduled to be held on June 11th, 2015 but was cancelled due to opposition.)

This is a dangerous expansion of the authority of public schools into the private lives of students, which has never been allowed in American schools. This plan sets goals for changes in students’ emotions, feelings, attitudes, values and beliefs. The area educators call the “affective domain” (from Blooms Taxonomy).  Please consider this plan and contact your elected State School Board Member, State Superintendent Bice and Governor Bentley about your view of this program. You can find a link below about President Obama and Governor Bentley’s Mental Health Plan for contact information.

The Alabama State Plan “is an integral part of the preparation of all students to be college and career ready. It serves as a framework to guide school districts, individual schools, and individual counselors in designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive, developmental, and systematic counseling program.”

1. It “should be used by all Alabama public schools for developing and implementing comprehensive, outcome-based school counseling and guidance programs that meet the needs of all students.”

2. “All students will receive a data-driven counseling program that promotes academic achievement, career readiness, and personal/social development”, which includes their “attitudes, character, values and beliefs.”

3. It is “aligned with ASCA National Model and its revisions and includes four interrelated components: foundation, delivery system, management system, and accountability.”

4. The “ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs, and three revisions promulgate national school counseling standards.” 

5. It “helps students achieve their full potential through four program delivery components: School Guidance Curriculum, Individual Student Planning, Responsive Services, and Indirect Services.”

6. “Comprehensive school counseling and guidance programs are data-driven by student needs and provide outcome-based accountability measures that align the school counseling and guidance program with the school’s overall academic mission.”

7. “VII. RESPONSIVE SERVICES–7.1 Every K-12 student receives prevention education to address life choices in academic, career, and personal/social development.

Click on link below for the complete plan then click on the 1st item listed as:

1. Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Model for Alabama Public Schools

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/ViewMeetingOrder.aspx?S=70577&MID=1610

PRESIDENT OBAMA and ALABAMA GOVERNOR BENTLEY’S DANGEROUS K-12 MENTAL HEALTH PLANS

Alabama State Superintendent of Schools, Tommy Bice, is leading the way into the dangerous new area of government over-reach into mental health assessments based on national counseling standards and mental health/behavioral goals for all students K-12th grade.  Superintendent Bice serves as an official with approval by Governor Bentley, who is also the president of the state school board. Republican Governor Bentley is following the same education philosophy as President Obama whose plans include adding psychological testing to the NAEP -National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2017.  (See “STOP PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MOVE INTO “THE DARK SIDE OF NATIONAL TESTING” linked below.) June 11th, at 10:30 am the Alabama state school board will meet to vote to accept or reject the K-12th grade Mental Health plan. Superintendent Bice has worked closely with the National Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA to put together a “Comprehensive Plan”  set to collect data through assessments of all students that will be used to develop the furthest reach into behavior assessment and training ever before seen in American Public Schools.  This “social engineer” planning would transform Alabama’s schools into a system which more resembles a behavior training laboratory  than a school system with an academic mission.  The plan was delivered to the State School Board and has been under controversy after it was closely examined. For all the wonderful people in Alabama, for their children, grandchildren and also importantly for all of America, where this could spread if we allow it, please help bring this dangerous plan to the light. Read the links provided below and take action!  If you live in Alabama or if you know anyone in Alabama ask them to contact the Alabama state school board (listed below), the state superintendent (334-242-9700), the Governor (334-242-7100).  Then call Alabama legislators who can pass legislation if needed (listed below).

Tell them to  “STOP ALABAMA’S MENTAL HEALTH PLAN FOR K-12!”

——————————-

ALABAMA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Governor Robert Bentley President

Al Thompson District I

Betty Peters District II

Stephanie Bell District III

Yvette M. Richardson, Ed.D. District IV

Ella B. Bell, Vice President District V

Cynthia Sanders McCarty, Ph.D. District VI

Jeff Newman, President Pro Tem District VII

Mary Scott Hunter, J.D. District VIII

Thomas R. Bice, Ed.D. Secretary and Executive Officer

—————–

ALABAMA HOUSE AND SENATE MEMBERS

http://www.legislature.state.al.us/aliswww/Representatives.aspx

http://www.legislature.state.al.us/aliswww/Senators.aspx

**UPDATE — The Alabama State School Board did not pass the K-12 Mental Health Plan due to opposition!!  Thanks to all the people who stood up to expose this.  We know these “social engineers” don’t give up so we will keep watching and taking action.  All states are subject to have this type of “comprehensive” mental health for all being put into place.  More to come on this…….

STOP PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MOVE INTO “THE DARK SIDE OF NATIONAL TESTING” -Part II

Part I of this article provides information announced on June 2, 2015 about what President Obama is doing through the Federal Department of Education and the NAEP -National Assessment of Educational Progress, which crosses the line into the “dark side” of testing with the government probing into the mind, will and emotions of each student.

Part 1: https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/obama-administration-advancing-the-dark-side-of-national-testing/

Part II, which follows, contains an article from 2001 describing the tremendous amount of information about national psychological testing uncovered first in Pennsylvania.  That discovery provided the basis of the work by Pennsylvanians Anita Hoge and Peg Luksik who have spent countless hours informing the public.  Both of these women traveled to Oklahoma where they spoke at meetings of 300 – 600 people in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, which I organized along with many grassroots volunteers.  Anita, Peg and others like myself, who fought the education “transformation” battles in the 90’s, are working again to stop the current take-over of education by the social engineers.

We can’t ignore the fact that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, both hoping to become president, are also national leaders in efforts to centrally control education and we need to pay attention to these issues.  This problem of federal control and over reach in testing will not go away when President Obama leaves the office.  He has already advanced the testing agenda with the stimulus money for P-20 longitudinal “database” for data to be collected and stored from preschool (prenatal in some states) to 8 years after high school (thus 8 + 12 or 20).  But President Obama is only continuing efforts which have been going on for a long time and have gone much further into the privacy of students and their families that most people have even imagined.

In this article from 2001, educator Bev Eakman describes and explains how assessments are used for psychological profiling, emphasizing a psychological assessment of a child’s needs, background, ability to conform to the group and for “social scientist’s speculation about the (home’s) environmental conditioning of the child.”

The Dark Side of Nationwide School Tests –Bev Eakman, 2001

President Bush’s education initiative calls for the testing of every student in the nation, but these “assessments”‘ in the past involved Big Brother-style psychological profiling.

The proponents of President George W. Bush’s education initiative, called “No Child Left Behind,” believe that they can make schools accountable to parents as well as taxpayers.  The centerpiece of this, as it appears in the amendments to the Elementary and Secondary School Act, still in House-Senate conference as this article goes to press, is a massive nationwide program designed to test every student in grades 3 to 8 in reading and math.  Both House and Senate bills propose some $400 million in federal funds to be sent to the states to devise and administer the tests on a state-by-state basis.

By giving tax money to each state to devise its own tests, supporters hope to mollify conservatives on the one hand, who fear national indoctrination by the US Department of Education, and liberals on the other, who dread the consequences of holding educators personally accountable for whether the children they teach actually learn.  The language of the House bill, HR1 (NCLB) for example, states in an unresolved contradiction that each state shall demonstrate that it has adopted “challenging academic standards and challenging academic-achievement standards.”  In the same breath, the bill says that “a state shall not be required to submit such standards to the Secretary.”The problem is that “academic standards” as defined by common sense and by lawmakers tend to be meaningless when defined by (certain) educators.

The bill calls for “challenging academic-content standards in academic subjects that specify what children are expected to know and be able to do” and contain “coherent and rigorous content and encourage the teaching of advanced skills.”  Yet both House and Senate bills shy away from using the term “tests” and substitute the edu-speak word “assessments.”

The reason is that public education during the last 30 years has tended against testing for knowledge of content, instead emphasising a psychological assessment of a child’s needs, background and ability to conform to the group.  A “test” is an objective measure of a child’s ability to solve a problem; an “assessment” is a social scientist’s speculation about the (home’s) environmental conditioning of the child.

Thus the “assessment” of a child’s ability to read or to do math in the current testing already in use has more to do with probing the child’s psyche and teaching him or her to conform to group values than with testing ability to add two plus two.  The leading educational experts will read the bill’s language as a license to invade the privacy of every child in the country rather than hold failing schools accountable.  And since the bill necessarily honors the principle of local control, it is likely the local educational bureaucracies doing the controlling will welcome the bill as a $400 million slush fund to do exactly what they have been doing to thwart educational reform.

The trouble with school tests begins with the increasing inclusion of sophisticated “behavioral” components that encompass a wide variety of lifestyle and opinion data, nailing down student proclivities, social attitudes and parent-inculcated worldviews.  Combined with the plethora of “health” (sex and drug) surveys, mental-health screenings, diary/journal-keeping and other miscellaneous questionnaires – mostly taking place in the classroom under cover of academics – testing has become more equated with personality inventories than proficiency exams.  In that context, what passes for testing even may undermine the accountability President Bush advocates.The case against standardised tests hinges on the quantum leap in data-gathering, cross-matching and information-sharing capabilities, with all the accompanying problems associated with data-trafficking, invasion of privacy and consumer profiling.  Barely a week goes by that a publication somewhere doesn’t carry a story detailing a new affront to what used to be considered “nobody’s business.”

One of the earliest examples of psychological data-gathering under the cover of academics occurred in the pivotal 1980s, when enormous breakthroughs in computer technology were being piloted with federal funds in selected localities.  One of those was in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, initiated under the 8-state Cooperative Accountability Project.  A handful of parents – among them, Gen Yvette Sutton, Anita Hoge and Francine D’Alonzo – got wind of a standardised academic test “no one could possibly study for” being disseminated in the McGuffey School District: the Educational Quality Assessment (EQA).

After several unsuccessful attempts to gain access, a trip to the state education agency in Harrisburg finally yielded the facts.  Not only did more than one-half the questions not relate to factual knowledge, but numerical codes next to the questions as printed on the administrative version of the test turned out to correlate with specific “remediating” curricula. It included questions such as:

I get upset easily at home:  [a] very true of me; [b] mostly true of me; [c] mostly untrue of me; [d] very untrue of me.   You are asked to dinner at the home of a classmate having a religion much different from yours.  In this situation I would feel: [a] very comfortable; [b] comfortable; [c] slightly uncomfortable; [d] very uncomfortable.   There is a secret club at school called the Midnight Artists.  They go out late at night and paint funny sayings and pictures on buildings.  I would JOIN THE CLUB when I knew [a] my best friend had asked me to join; [b] most of the popular students in school were in the club; [c] my parents would ground me if they found out I joined.”

This last question, in particular, got parents’ attention.  It presumes that the child will join the club under some circumstances, including the desire to provoke parents.  They thought the question more or less asked: “How can we get this kid to vandalise property?”

The EQA had 375 questions covering attitudes, worldviews and opinions – mostly hypothetical situations and self-reports.  There were 30 questions on math and another 30 covering verbal analogies – just enough academic questions to appear credible.

Every such test is distributed with professional literature for the educators – which is strictly off-limits to the parents.  The EQA told educators it was testing for: the student’s “locus of control,” his “willingness to receive stimuli,” his “amenability to change” and whether he would “conform to group goals.”  In lay terms, these translate to: Where’s the child coming from?  Is he easily influenced?  Are his views firm or flexible?  Is he a team player who will accede to group consensus?  Choice “b,” then, was the preferred response to the Midnight Artists question because it reflects a willingness to “conform to group goals.

“Today, such testing is more sophisticated.  A fascinating aspect of a recent Michigan Assessment, for example, was that regardless of the section – reading, science, geography – the questions all sounded like social studies.  For example, there was nothing about topography in the geography section; it covered “global issues” – overpopulation, colonial victimization and redistribution of resources to Third World countries.  The writing-sample topic?  “Coping With Change.”

Five science questions for fifth-graders concerned universal child fingerprinting, but involved no science.  The multiple choices, even the “incorrect” ones, seemed more like endorsements than questions: “fingerprinting doesn’t hurt,” “lost children can be identified,” et cetera.  Not a single “down side” was offered.  The one question that sounded like a question was so simple that one could reasonably have asked whether this were the reading or the science section:

Fingerprinting is MOST useful in which of the following jobs: [a] police work, to help in crime fighting; [b] window washing, to help clean windows; [c] auto mechanics, to help cars run better; [d] teaching, to help kids learn to multiply.”

Task 1 from the history section – on women in combat – was “Interpreting Information.”  Prefaced in small print was, “Directions: Read the following hypothetical information about a public policy issue.  Use it with what you already know to complete the tasks that follow.”

Parent activists Deborah DeBacker of Troy, Michigan, and Joan Grindel of Bloomfield, Michigan, say it’s doubtful fifth-graders either understood or acted upon the term “hypothetical.”  In any case, the only interpretation one could draw from the data provided is that women should be in combat.  Despite assurances in the essay instructions that the student’s views per se don’t matter, it’s clear that any view not supported by those “hypothetical facts” in the data section will be judged insufficient to warrant a top grade.  In the example, testers actually begin the paragraph for the pupil: “I think that women members of the military should definitely be allowed to participate.”

Questionnaires, curricula and activities that target the belief system are called “affective devices.”  Psychology texts describe the belief system as made up of attitudes, values and worldviews existing below the level of conscious awareness.  Affective means “noncognitive,” “dealing with emotions and feelings” rather than the intellect.  Using affective-questioning techniques makes it easier to test the subject’s belief system.  Some go so far as to test for “psychological threshold.”  The teacher’s guide to Pennsylvania’s 1986 citizenship curriculum defined this threshold as “the severity of stimulus tolerated before a change of behaviour occurs.”  The manual explained that “it is possible to assess not only the students’ predisposition [toward certain reactions] but also to provide some measure of the intensity of that predisposition across a wide spectrum of situations.”

Some profiling instruments are explicit and blatant, such as Pennsylvania’s and Michigan’s, while others are more subtle.  Most states label them “assessments” rather than “tests,” further confusing the issue for parents.  Regardless of the label, opponents claim that personality testing in the context of an academic setting, and the psychotherapeutic sales packages (curricula) that typically ensue, portend a high-tech threat not only to privacy but to a child’s future employability and freedom of conscience.

Then there are the student-identification methods applied to “confidential” tests and surveys the testers say are not “individually identifiable.”  This doesn’t mean, however, that students are not “individually identified.”  Confused?  The National Center for Education Statistics 1993 Field Restricted Use Data Procedures Manual explains this semantic sleight of hand.  Techniques range from simple bar-coding and “slugging” to more-complicated exercises such as “sticky-labelling” and inserting “embedded identifiers.”

To the testers, however, the term “confidential” means “need to know.”  The “confidential” label casually applied by officials to modern testing and survey devices invariably is taken for anonymity, thereby masking the fact that:

  1. higher scores are accorded “preferred” viewpoints,
  2. curriculum is modified and targeted to specific groups of children to correct “inappropriate” attitudes and, more ominously,
  3. certain views that once were considered “principled” now are deemed “rigid” and associated with mental illness or psychological defects.

Among the at-risk “indicators” are viewpoints and behaviours deemed by the testers to be what they call “indicative of a rigid or underdeveloped belief system.”  Pupils are referred to psychologists for “remediation” to render their attitudes and responses more “realistic.”  Several professional papers, beginning with the acclaimed 1969 Behavioural Science Teacher Education Project (BSTEP), place “firm religious belief” in the “rigid/inflexible” category.  BSTEP also projected a world “so saturated with ideas and information [by the 1990s that] few will be able to maintain control over their opinions.”

So far is all this testing and evaluation from confidential that today’s burgeoning computer cross-matching capability of public and private records has launched an information industry of data traffickers and information brokers.  Some are licit and others black-market, but they cater to the needs of employers, credit bureaus, universities, corporate spies and government agencies.

Of course, evidence of serious peril to our American presumption of “personal affairs” was being debated among high-ranking educators as far back as 1969, when Wolcott Beatty wrote his seminal work, Improving Educational Assessment and an Inventory of Measures of Affective Behaviour.  Dozens of related publications followed, documenting a slippery slope from conceptual design of a test that would evaluate and compare effectiveness of learning programs to a federal-funding carrot that would ensure massive personal-data collection with automatic-transfer capability to federal and international databases.

In 1970, L J Chronbach’s Essentials of Scientific Testing sounded the first alarm: “Coding of records is not a full safeguard.  Identity can be detected by matching facts from the coded questionnaire with other facts that are openly recorded.”

By that time Dustin Heuston of the renowned World Institute of Computer-Assisted Technology (WICAT) in Utah uttered his prophetic assertion: “We’ve been staggered by realising that the computer has the capability to act as if it were 10 of the top psychologists working with one student.  Won’t it be wonderful when no one can get between that child and that curriculum?”  Behavioural-science gurus Richard Wolf (Teachers College, Columbia University) and his colleague, Ralph Tyler, openly were advocating a need for surreptitious methods of data collection and student identification as early as 1974 in their coedited book, Crucial Issues in Testing.  They called for unified coding and standardised definitions to enhance cross-matching and data-sharing – from elementary schools on into the workplace.

Wolf supported “the permissibility of deception” in school-testing based on “the rights of an institution to obtain information necessary to achieve its goals.”  He stated that, danger or not, there “are occasions in which the test constructor [finds it necessary] to outwit the subject so that he cannot guess what information he is revealing.  From the constructor’s point of view this is necessary since he wishes to ascertain information that the individual might not furnish if it were sought directly.  A number of personality tests fall into this category.”

Despite admonitions, the lure of computerised cross-matching proved too enticing.  In 1981, the first education databanks were launched: the Common Core of Data, the Universe Files and the Longitudinal Studies.  In what is perhaps the most evidential document on the subject, Measuring the Quality of Education by Willard Wirtz and Archie LaPointe, the writers outline the US Education Department’s (ED’s) intention to ignore the legal and ethical warnings against privacy invasion:

Getting into the students’ personal characteristics and situations invariably prompts warnings that the NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Programs] purpose is not to analyse human development, and injunctions against confusing the measurement of educational results (outcomes) and the analysis of cause (inputs).  But it is being recognised increasingly that the measurement of achievement is incomplete without the accompanying identification of whatever educational circumstances may affect these results.

More prophetically, Wirtz and LaPointe wrote: “A different kind of assessment would help correct the tilt in the educational-standards concept toward functional literacy and away from excellence.”

Direct education away from excellence?  That’s right.  The authors detailed how a clearinghouse-style database incorporating demographic and psychological-profiling data would help steer schools toward what these “experts” deemed a more realistic ideal: mere functional literacy.

Policymakers at the ED quickly moved to shelve concerns about student and family privacy.  For example, James P Shaver wrote a detailed monograph, National Assessment of Values and Attitudes for Social Studies, published through the Office of Educational Research and Instruction (OERI), a division of the US Department of Education.  But by then there was no need to hide intent because OERI already had brought in four computer experts from Utah’s WICAT to prepare a working paper for the first consolidated education database.

In 1986, “A Plan for the Redesign of the Elementary and Secondary Data Collection Program” was finalised, incorporating attitudinal, lifestyle and value information.  It fell to the federally funded Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to ensure state/federal compatibility of computer systems and promote collection of data at the local level.  In a 1985 speech, CCSSO Director Ramsey Seldon placed “coordination of educational assessment and evaluation” on the highest priority, promoting the exchange of information about private citizens and their children in the name of comparing educational achievement.

Today, the three original education databases are part of a mammoth data-tracking/sharing system called the SPEEDE/ExPRESS.  Among other capabilities, data can be transmitted to universities and prospective employers via WORKLINK, a system set up by the Educational Testing Service.In 1988, the National Center for Education Statistics named 29 organisations, some with no clear ties to education, that were given automatic access to national assessment data – among them the Census Bureau, the office of the Montana State Attorney General, the Rand Corporation and the Economic Policy Institute.  Then technology took another quantum leap – more storage capability in less space, ultra-sophisticated search engines, intricate cross-matching methods.

And critics of all this are saying that puts President Bush’s national-testing initiative in a different light.  And it cuts left and right.  After all, if one faction can target a child’s belief system and keep records, so can another.

The basic dilemmas remain: If the use of psychographic instruments is legal and ethical, without informed, written, parental consent; if behavior-modification curricula can be brought into the classroom as legitimate learning material; if teachers, or even bona fide mental-health workers, can use the schools to “treat” youngsters for real or imagined psychological problems – then are schools really educational institutions or day-care clinics?”

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Now that we know this —–   WE MUST EXPOSE this….. warn parents, teachers and even those supporting the “transformation” of education where this is all leading.  Then everyone please get on the phone, email, twitter, facebook; set up meetings; write letters and tell your United States Representative and Senators to

“GET THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OUT OF STUDENT TESTING and KILL NCLB!”

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Author Eakman is a teacher and executive director of the National Education Consortium and the author of Cloning of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality Through Education.

PDF link – https://www.heartland.org/policy-documents/dark-side-nationwide-test