How Data Mining Your Children’s Behavior Is Changing the Face of Texas Education
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. April 25, 2017 Texas Insider Education Views
If cutting edge education technologies can enhance student learning, why do so many Silicon Valley executives at Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Google, and Yahoo send their children to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula that bans computer technology in the classrooms?
Why did Steve Jobs famously refuse to allow his children to use iPads and other “screen-time” technologies?
Is the real purpose of promoting personalized learning – computerized learning – really about accumulating massive amounts of data that can be used for a centrally planned economy?
Tracking of students was done during the Bush administration with states being urged to accept federal funding “unique statewide identifiers” for each student. Federal grants were awarded to develop the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).
During the Obama administration monitoring and tracking of students went into overdrive as cash-strapped states were coerced to monitor and track student information or to expand existing systems. Massive bribes were awarded to states from the $50 billion stimulus package if they agreed to adopt Common Core and to expand their data tracking.
With data collected from pre-K through the workforce years (P-20), the SLDS allows workforce data to be matched with P-20 data, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Workforce Data Quality Initiative.”
Cradle to Grave Data Collection
All collected data must be shared with the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and other entities within and outside the federal government.
Corporations and nonprofits are feeding at the $8 billion student assessment trough. They access and analyze the data, devise recommendations on how to “remediate” the students’ weaknesses, and then sell that information back to the school districts at a profit.
Private contractors have access because the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was gutted in 2012 without Congressional approval by the Obama administration. In spite of outrage by the public as well as some lawmakers, access to student private information without parental approval continues.
In 2013 USED hosted a conference -- Datapalooza -- to explore the implementation of Common Core via digital learning. An EdTech CEO boasted, “We are collecting billions of records of data…pulling data from everywhere…tens of thousands of places.”
He claimed the data will help students develop the 21st century workforce skills that Big Government and Big Business have determined they will need.
He said these 21st century skills are being promoted in the classroom through Common Core: “Common Core is the glue that ties everything together.” Even though Texas did not adopt Common Core, it is found in schools throughout Texas. Common Core processes are even in the Texas Math Curriculum Standards and the SBOE refuses to remove them.
Over 400 data points are being collected, according to the federal National Center for Education Statistics.
A USDE document offers guidance for SLDS with a list of “Personally Identifiable Information (PII): name, parents’ names, address, Social Security number, date and place of birth, and mother’s maiden name. Other data can include:
• Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or parent;
• Mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
• Sex behavior or attitudes;
• Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, and demeaning behavior;
• Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
• Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians,
• Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; or
• Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program
or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
Many parents are unaware their children are being tested for social and emotional learning (SEL). SEL, now the primary focus of education, rather than academics, is embedded in the unconstitutional 2015 federal law that replaced No Child Left Behind -- Every Student Succeeds Act.
Who determines how to measure social and emotional learning? What is being done with the information?
A 2013 report by the USDE, “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century,” calls for public schools to cultivate “non-cognitive factors in students including “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes” that are “independent of intellectual ability.”
Grit is included in Common Core Standards which means it will be tested.
Data mining is being done with biometric devices such as the wireless skin conductance sensor strapped to students’ wrists to measure blood volume and pulse and check out student frustration.
Biometrics can include DNA; fingerprints; face, hand and ear features; voice recordings; iris scans; gait; typing rhythm; and gestures. Iris scans and fingerprints are quite useful for tracking purposes -- a treasure trove for a government wishing to track its people 24/7.
Several states do not allow collection of student biometric information. However, nothing bans the use of children’s DNA, fingerprints, heart rate, or iris scans.
Data mining is being done during digital learning through a student learning database that stores time-stamped student input and behaviors captured as students work.
From Capitalist to Socialist Nation
The mission to change America from a free enterprise economic system to a socialist/collectivist society can be found as far back as 1934 in the Carnegie Corporation funded study, Conclusions and Recommendations of the Commission on the Social Studies by the American Historical Association. The authors noted that profound changes in the attitudes and outlook of the American people would be required. To accomplish this, Social Studies would be used to indoctrinate students.
Rather than academics, American public education is now indoctrination to change student values, beliefs, and behavior for a collectivist society with a government planned workforce. The vast majority of American children will be narrowly trained for specified jobs with traditional education and college reserved for only a very small group of elite students.
Progress in the changing of student attitudes and values must be measured. Students who do not comply must be “remediated.” Without data mining, how else can progress be measured and students remediated for workforce training?
Since the 19th century, the Supreme Court has affirmed parental rights. Already the public is deeply angered with the bullying by Progressive educators and weary with paying for schools that don’t deliver the bacon.
If the purpose of public education is simply to train a workforce for a socialist government, then it’s time for parents to stop funding public education.