Common Core Problems Legislative Updates Student Data & Privacy

Gov. Snyder is Outsourcing Student Data

Are you and your children tired of all the high-stakes testing being done in school?  Do you want to provide input on the new computer-adaptive Smarter Balanced Assessments aligned with the Common Core that are coming to your local school?  There will be a public session on the assessments this Wednesday,  Sept 10, 2013.    But you’ll have to get your travel plans in order quickly because  the public meeting is in Los Angeles, California.   At this point, you are probably wondering why anyone would hold a public meeting in California to discuss Michigan assessments?  Good question.

Simply put, because Governor Snyder has outsourced education.   But don’t worry Governor Snyder told us at his live town hall in Grand Rapids, “it’s evolving….we haven’t ceded control of everything…we have a voice at the table.”  The tests are now controlled by a multi-state consortium with federal oversight, and Michigan has one vote in major decisions.

In 2012,  Michigan joined the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC),  a state-led consortium, with a “consensus” form of governance.   Michigan is a “governing state” in the SBAC.  In practical terms, that means Michigan traded complete authority over assessments for “one vote through its designated representative” in a 23 state consortium.   All decisions are made by “consensus.”  Evidently, the consensus decided that Los Angeles is a better location for a public meeting than Lansing.

What makes the location of the SBAC public meeting even more frustrating is that one of the agenda items to be discussed is data privacy.   By joining SBAC,  Governor Snyder outsourced the education data of your children. By agreement, confidential student-level data is now open to the federal government and third-party education stakeholders.

Truth in American Education explains,

The Race to the Top (RTTT) Assessment Program awarded grants to PARCC and SBAC to develop assessments aligned to the CCSS. They each have an identical cooperative agreement….You can download the Cooperative Agreements from the Race to the Top Assessment Program Awards page.  Consortia member states are bound by the terms of these agreements. Are there terms in these agreements parents should be concerned about? YES!

Item 6 on page 10 reads:

6) The Grantee must provide timely and complete access to any and all data collected at the State level to ED or its designated program monitors, technical assistance providers, or researcher partners, and to GAO, and the auditors conducting the audit required by 34 CFR section 80.26.

If asked, your state officials may deny the Common Core requires the state to share student data with the federal government. While they may not be lying to you they aren’t being entirely honest as a result of semantics. Instead of the state sharing data it is the consortia providing access. The state isn’t required to share student-level data through the Common Core. The consortia are required to “provide timely and complete access to any and all data collected at the state level” to the federal government. So even the consortia are able to deny they are sharing student data with the federal government. They aren’t sharing in the sense of giving, rather they are providing access so the federal government can reach in and take whatever data they want whenever they want.

This is wrong! The public isn’t allowed to see President Obama’s transcripts but the feds and private interests are allowed access to your students’ data.

Governor Snyder and the Obama administration can’t hide behind FERPA either.  In 2011, acting without the authorization of  Congress the Dept. of Ed. weakened the FERPA law to allow  private sector access to confidential student data.   It’s time to call their bluff.   Common Core isn’t about raising the bar for students but raising the level of control from the state to the federal level

Michigan lost more control  when the US Dept. of Ed. announced that it will provide a technical review of development for the consortia of states.   The feds know that what is tested is what is taught.  It is obvious that the feds are angling for control of the testing.

Governor Snyder is outsourcing student assessment and data to a consortium with federal oversight.

So will the public hearings of the consortia eventually be held in DC under the oversight of the Secretary of Education?  What are the feds and the private sector doing with your student’s confidential data?  Who is the Michigan representative in SBAC, voting on our behalf?   With that much power, shouldn’t that be an elected position accountable to the people?

This is getting absurd!  The federal government should not be overseeing the assessments.  Student-level data should not be open to the feds and just about everyone else.  And we shouldn’t have to fly to California or DC to express our opinion on assessments to anonymous unelected bureaucrats.

Call Governor Snyder (517) 373-3400 and your state lawmakers and tell them to  Stop Common Core and stop outsourcing education today!