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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Senate Bill Legalizes Expansion of Data Mining
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.  June 14, 2017   Education Views

While the national focus is on data mining at the K-12 grade levels, bureaucrats and technocrats are filing legislation to legalize the expansion of federal data collection on ALL U.S. citizens. If they pass Senate bill, S 1121, the College Transparency Act, the federal government can monitor, track, and pigeon hole Americans from cradle to grave. The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

As with all things Washington, the promise of transparency is another political lie.  The real purpose of S.1121 is sugar coated to fool the public: “to provide more accurate, complete, and customizable information for students and families making decisions about postsecondary education.”  Yet careful reading exposes the truth: this bill is a Trojan horse for the expansion of federal data collection.   This is accomplished by removing the prohibition on the individual student unit-record system, allowing data collection on college students and, afterwards, on their workforce career – a lifetime of monitoring of citizens.  

Data to be Collected
•    Initially the bill limits data elements related to college completion such as “student enrollment, persistence, retention, transfer, and completion measures for all credential levels (including certificate and associate, baccalaureate, and advanced degree levels),”  
•    It prohibits the collection of “health data, student discipline records or data, elementary and secondary education data, exact address, citizenship or national origin status, course grades, individual postsecondary entrance examination results, political affiliation, or religion in the postsecondary student data system under this subsection.”
•    Every five years the Commissioner of Education Statistics can consult with colleges and universities about what other data elements should be added.  

We can be sure that many more data elements will be added.  This is not unlike the political shenanigans that surrounded passage of the two federal statutes that handed control of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education over to the federal government.

These statutes, the National Defense Education Act of 1958 (NDEA) and the Elementary & Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), form the bedrock of the current extensive federal education control.

To secure passage of the legislation, a major national defense crisis was created.

The need for the NDEA was touted after the successful launch of the first Soviet earth-orbiting satellite in 1957, followed by Sputnik II.

Numerous expert witnesses testified before Congress that no national crisis existed and that U.S. military capabilities exceeded those of the Soviet Union.  Still, Congress passed the legislation as supposed security and defense measures for a nation under a “state of emergency”.

Even though Senators and Congressmen voted for the bill, they understood the real intent was to increase federal control over education.

Because of the widespread public fear of expanding federal authority over education, legislators included a provision in the NDEA prohibiting federal control of education.   However, their understanding of the provision’s real intent was quite different from the explanation they gave the public.

During the Johnson administration another bureaucratic lie was foisted upon the public to secure passage of The Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. Legislators promoted passage of the bill as a “war on poverty” to provide better educational opportunities for low-income children.

The supposed benefits to low-income children were only a sales gimmick akin to the defense rhetoric used to ram the NDEA through Congress.  The strategy was to make the ESEA’s education expenditures politically irresistible to create nationwide entitlement programs.

Data Sharing
The bill requires “secure linkages with relevant Federal data systems, including data systems of  
•    the Office of Federal Student Aid,
•    the Department of the Treasury,
•    the Department of Defense,
•    the Department of Veterans Affairs,
•    the Social Security Administration, and
•    the Bureau of the Census.”
The sharing of data stops there -- for now.  

Sure S 1121 requires “secure” links, but it can’t stop data breaches.  It’s no secret that student data security at the USED is not at all secure and that a recent data breach occurred at FAFSA -- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The genie can’t be put back into the bottle for those whose data was exposed.

Even though many Americans fail to see the consequences of government access to highly personal information about law abiding people, those who have fled socialist regimes for the safe shores of America are speaking out about the freedom killing direction of our nation.

As of May 15, S. 1121 has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  

Though both chairpersons of the congressional education committees, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), oppose the bill, we can be certain Progressives will not rest until they secure passage of a bill that allows tracking and surveillance of all Americans – from womb to tomb.

Thomas Jefferson cautioned his fellow countrymen: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

We have failed to heed Jefferson’s advice or that of Senator Barry Goldwater who correctly predicted the NDEA would prove to be the proverbial “camel’s nose” of the central government in the tent of education.  D.C. political hacks also were right about the irresistibility of federal entitlements.  For a few pieces of silver that already belong to the people, states continue to cave to outright theft of their rights over education – the Department of Education, Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Common Core, Race to the Top, and Every Student Succeeds Act.

However, given the political upset with the election of President Trump, Americans just may be getting a backbone to stop this bureaucratic steamrolling of freedom.

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