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Common Core Privacy Issues

You will likely be hearing a great deal about The Common Core State Standards Initiative in the upcoming months as this new standard becomes the new education benchmark for schools nationwide. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state led U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards based education reform. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. These new standards are the academic benchmarks for reading and math that lay out what students should know and do at each grade level, as well as after high school. Currently, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards, while five other states created their own version. For those that have adopted the standards, they will be fully implemented by the 2014-15 school year, when new assessments aligned with the Common Core are published. The state schools are requiring adoption of the Common Core standards in order for them to receive desperately needed grant funds.

Widely misunderstood and controversial, Common Core is designed to better equip American students to compete in the international marketplace. Proponents say that the focus is digging deeper into concepts so students come away with a stronger analytical skills and a mastery of the topic in order to be better prepared for college or a career. A standardized test used across most of the country would provide valuable comparisons for parents seeking the best education and businesses looking for high achievers.

Opponents of the Common Core State Standards are portraying this state-created education strategy as an overreach of the federal government and also decry that the standards do not suggest how teachers conduct their lessons or list books. Educators have been criticizing standardized testing for many years, likening them to “manufacturing” test scores for students. Classroom surveys show most teachers do not find scores from standardized tests scores very useful; the tests do not help a teacher understand what to do next in working with a student because they do not indicate how the student learns or thinks. Nor do they measure much of what students should learn or adequately measure thinking skills or assess what people can do on real-world tasks.

Teacher’s evaluations are now based upon standardized test scores affecting their base salaries, potential merit pay, and job status. Teachers complain that there is now so much constant testing and test preparation that they are not having time to do what they are supposed to be doing - which is teach!

Getting back to the subject of this blog which is Common Core and what privacy concerns we have to anticipate now that it is the universally accepted educational initiative throughout the U.S. There are some disturbing aspects of this education reform currently being advanced by the Obama administration which is the unprecedented and extraordinary monitoring and tracking of students.

Research grants have been allotted to explore the use of electronic bracelets on children and even functioning magnetic resonance imaging to measure learning. They have also established a $100 million dollar national database which collects of massive amounts of personal data on students, an Eye - Swipe - Nano Program and a radio frequency chip in student ID cards.

The amount and extent of data collected on our children is truly mind-numbing. It is a literal "cradle to career system." Data elements include or will include newborn screening (genetic) data; preschool screening including mental health data; biometric data (like iris scans); homework; assessments, that according to the federal government will now include measurement of psychological characteristics; parental voting status and religious affiliation; extra-curricular activities; college data; income; and other employment data. These data bases will allow student data to be shared across states, to multiple agencies of the federal government, and to researchers and private corporations all without parental consent or knowledge.

This data is designed to psychologically profile children for everything from kindergarten readiness to the type of job for which the government or corporate authorities determine they are most suited.

This is a gross violation of the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution and has resulted in outrage from all points on the political spectrum to the point of causing state affiliates of the ACLU and PTA to threaten lawsuits and commentators and parents to join forces against this incredible loss of privacy.

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