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

Big Government and Elites Love Datapalooza
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.   October 9, 2017   Eagle Forum Report September 2017

Students can no longer attend public schools and expect to get a broad based academic education.  Instead they are pawns of Big Government and Big Business.

For Big Government, public education is the preferred vehicle to implement a Soviet-style planned economy to replace capitalism and the fierce American individualism that we treasure.  For Big Business, American K-12 is at least a $500 billion market, according to Rupert Murdoch of News Corp.

Government schools have become massive data centers that collect personal student information for a workforce database, critical for a planned economy. Teachers are required to collect and record volumes of data on each student.  Through computerized “personalized learning” and testing, millions of pieces of personally identifiable student information (PII) are gleaned, analyzed, and stored.

Under the Obama administration, student privacy laws were changed, without Congressional approval, to allow the government to track students from “cradle to career.” Now there is unlimited sharing of PII with virtually anyone in the world, without any parental approval.

Major corporations are gaining access to PII so they can develop products and services to sell school districts.  Their access is portrayed as necessary to help teachers improve their skills and to enhance student academic achievement.  Actually it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing for schemes by those seeking to make vast corporate profits off kids.

Since the federal government is prohibited from developing and maintaining a national student database, in 2002 states were offered grants to build student data systems according to federal dictates – with all 50 state database systems being identical for easy sharing.  This Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) is a de facto national student database.

The most recent incentives to states to build data systems were the Stimulus Bill of 2009 and Race to the Top program. Just to make application for the RTTT funds, a state had to adopt the Common Core Standards, adopt an assessment aligned with Common Core, and commit to expanding the state’s student database.  According to the National Education Data Model, over 400 data points would be collected including  psychological evaluations, medical records, religious affiliation, political affiliation, family income, behavioral problems, disciplinary history, career goals, hobbies, addresses, sex of each parent, and bus stop times/locations.  

Common Core is linked to this through the national assessments, PARCC and Smarter Balanced. Each consortium has a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education giving the USDE access to all  student-level data obtained by the  consortium through testing.   Access to this information can be gained merely by claiming it is for “research.”  Parents are unaware of this government access – indeed, they are powerless to stop it.

At the 2013 USDE hosted conference, “Datapalooza,” an educational technology CEO boasted about their “collecting billions of records of data…pulling data from everywhere…tens of thousands of places.”  He publicly admitted that 21st century soft skills deemed necessary by the federal government are being promoted in the classroom through Common Core, the “glue that ties everything together.”

An increasingly aggressive USDE is demanding ever more PII for various federal grants, especially from states that refused to adopt Common Core. As expected, the federal government is encouraging widespread sharing of student data within states.

There is a renewed effort in Congress to lift the ban on a national student database.  A bipartisan Senate bill has been filed (S.1121 - “The College Transparency Act”) which will allow the federal government to monitor, track, and pigeon hole Americans from the postsecondary level on through the workforce.

Despite Washington lawmakers claims that the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind, returns education control to the states and local communities, the legislation increases the unconstitutional federal intrusion.   ESSA focuses on social emotional learning (SEL) and its assessment as the primary purpose of education with academic learning relegated to second place.

States are currently implementing ESSA and the federally mandated SEL scheme of psychological profiling.  This is accomplished through computer adaptive learning and assessments – a useful tool for steering students toward government approved thinking and beliefs – and teacher administered evaluations.

The annual ASU-GSV Summit for education technology is a must-attend event where venture capitalists meet with executives from education start-ups to review new personalized or adaptive learning systems for students.

Silicon Valley giants are partnering with investors to develop products and services for data driven, computerized adaptive learning and testing designed to change student behavior, beliefs, and values away from individualism, nationalism, and Western values and toward a godless, group think, socialist system.  Student progress must be measured and for those that do not comply, remediation must be administered.  The success of measuring progress hinges on data mining for personal information.

A teacher administered evaluation system was recently reported in the Wall Street Journal.  New Hampshire physician Dr. Aida Crundolo exposed the use of the Devereaux Student Strengths Assessments, a psychological evaluation being administered by untrained and unlicensed teachers.

Google has become a powerhouse with more than half of the nation’s elementary and secondary school students using its education apps such as Gmail and Docs.  With its low-priced Chromebook laptops, Google has also garnered 58 percent of the market of mobile devices sold to schools.

Parents should be highly concerned that Google has refused to disclose how it uses data collected from students’ online activities including what is collected, why it’s collected, and how the data is used.

Ed tech companies promote laying off teachers so more money will be available for technology, ignoring the volume of research that shows how critical teachers are for student learning.  Ignored, too, is the high cost of building the infrastructure and maintaining and upgrading equipment.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief, plans to  take over the majority of American classrooms with the education software being developed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.  This software will be a personalized learning program with students teaching themselves and teachers being mere facilitators.  Given Zuckerberg’s leftist leanings, we can most likely count on the inclusion of data mining and psychological manipulation of students.

ESSA also directs federal dollars for Pay-for-Success schemes as well as providing millions of dollars in grants to schools that shift to education models designed for data collection.  These models include competency based learning, blended learning, and personalized learning, which sound student friendly but cloak from the public the real intention for their use.

One of the Pay-for-Success schemes sweeping the investment market is Social Impact Bonds. Social impact investing is upfront private capital to start a program, such as pre-K.  Loan repayment is based on success pre-determined by data.  

To offer “proof” to investors for a return on investment, tech companies pressure schools for baseline, growth, and value-added data.  This is how intrusive pre-school assessments like TS Gold get pushed into schools and the reason why middle school students are pressured to complete Naviance strengths assessments.
Taxpayers are promised big tax savings over the long run by these programs that supposedly prevent the need for remedial services.

However, there is a massive amount of research that has been published over the past 60 years showing that not only have government pre-K programs been unsuccessful, but they have even caused harm to children.

One of the first social impact bonds was sold in 2012 by Goldman Sachs to finance a pre-K program in Utah.  Though Goldman got a full payout, the cost savings promised has not been realized.  

Goldman Sachs made huge profits in a Chicago pre-K program.  For their $16.6 million investment they got a return in excess of $30 million from the city.

Although there are ethical concerns about social impact investing as well as doubts about the public benefit, education is becoming a tradeable market that is attracting investors with the promise of big returns.  This is being fueled by well-endowed foundations partnering with large investors and made possible by a shift in education policy that allows massive amounts of data to be collected to justify the promised return on investment.  

The impact investment market is mammoth with projections reported by Grant Makers in Health to between $400 million and $1 trillion by 2020 and nearly $2 trillion in the long term. Additional profits are being recognized  by packaging the bonds which are sold on the derivatives market to individuals and institutions worldwide.

No longer are children being educated to become productive, self-governing citizens living in a Constitutional Republic.  Their futures are being derailed by big government and billionaires that have completely taken over the rights of states and parents to educate their children.

Will Americans rise up to stop these public private partnership schemes designed to make trillions at the expense of children and the future of America?

Since public education is now about training our children to be “human capital” for a Soviet-style planned economy, will Americans be willing to continue funding this Progressive government system?

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