Common Core and Privacy Issues

May 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM 4 comments

There has been a great deal written on the Common Core. Because of the tremendous amount of information written on the subject, it’s a bit like trying to wade through Obamacare documents to find out what it truly says and mandates. It is slow going.

I’ll say right up front that I have not made up my mind completely one way or another with respect to Common Core. I’m still reading and researching. At the same time, I know that many have come out against it and are vehement in their resistance to Common Core. They have their reasons.

Because my wife and I have actually taught in the public schools (of California), me for just over ten years and my wife over 20 years in the special education field, we understand education from a teacher’s perspective as well as a parent’s. Still, it has been difficult for us to come to a consensus on Common Core. On one hand, because the federal government is mandating it, that causes a red flag to go off because legally, the federal government cannot force the states to adopt something (though that seems to be happening more and more these days). It can only offer.

Common Core is not mandatory, as far as I can tell. If a school district does not want to implement it, they don’t, but of course, they also then forfeit any funding for that program as well, which makes sense.

There are many who believe that the Common Core is a bad idea from the get-go because it attempts a “once size fits all” approach. At its root, the federal government seems to be saying that at this grade level, students should be able to do this. At that grade level, students should be able to do that. I need to keep researching though.

One thing I can point out where the Common Core opens the door to major problems is in the area of privacy for students. In fact, Dr. Gary Thompson (Director of Clinical Training & Community Advocacy Services, Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center, Inc.) has written an excellent article on this very subject.

After all the research Dr. Thompson has done, he has concluded that based on the privacy issue alone, he cannot at this point, endorse the Common Core and he explains why. He notes that there are several areas in which student privacy is not protected. It’s absent completely.

After noting that all student test results will be entered into a national/state database, Dr. Thompson asks, “Exactly WHO will have access to records obtained by this national/state database? The generic political answer of ‘Appropriately designated education officials or private research entities’ does not ‘cut the mustard.’ For what EXACT purpose will this sensitive data be utilized?

“What organizations will have access to identifiable academic records? Other than generic information regarding race, age, gender and geographic location, why does the Federal database require identifiable information to be accessible?

These are extremely important questions that not only need to be asked as Dr. Thompson has done, but detailed answers are required. This is completely lacking in the Common Core documentation and Dr. Thompson assures us that he spent hours going over it with a fine-tooth comb, as well as reading many pro and con articles related to the Common Core.

Aside from the standards that the federal government wishes to implement, until this issue of privacy is adequately dealt with, it would seem like it would be a good idea to avoid being involved in the program, if possible. Dr. Thompson himself states that it is because of this one issue that he would not place his toddler in a school that was involved in Common Core.

Because it starts with the federal government, the Common Core needs to be seriously studied, just as we would study any educational program ballyhooed by the feds (whether No Child Left Behind, Common Core, or something else). I think most of the time, well-meaning politicians (is that an oxy moron?) simply want to do something with our educational system out of their frustration. The difficulty though is that all too often, these federally created programs wind up becoming problematic due to issues that were not considered prior to creation and implementation.

Right now, a big issue has to do with student privacy, as noted by Dr. Thompson. He states that the documentation for Common Core, “Grants school districts a waiver from FERPA in terms of deleting identifying information on their records” and “Allows school districts to then give these identifiable records basically to anyone who they deem to have a viable interest with these records.”

Essentially then, the school district would decide if they wanted a waiver from FERPA (Family Education Rights & Privacy Act). If they went that route and obtained a waiver, they would then be under no obligation to keep student test results and identifying information private. This is worrisome and should concern all parents because of the potential for misuse and abuse. We need to understand that all of this could be done without parental consent.

Based on this one fact, I would have difficulty letting my children participate in this program. Privacy issues need to be solidly addressed and they have not been.

We’ll be back (hopefully soon) with more information about the Common Core!

Entry filed under: Life in America, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - Theology. Tags: , .

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  • 1. Pam Goolsby  |  May 16, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    I read the link to Dr. Thomson’s post, then I went on to the boards and read a number of things on common core, I am very grateful for you putting this out there and I am sending this to everyone I know and encouraging them to look further into this by the links you provided. I will continue to read and look for my self as you helped me in finding the links we so needed. Again thank you.

    Date: Wed, 15 May 2013 18:48:27 +0000 To:

  • 2. Pam  |  May 16, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Thanks Fred for the info and I am still looking at all that you have given to read, I know Texas has stopped the Common Core right now. we will see thanks again.

  • 3. Dan Lowell  |  May 16, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    Hi Fred,

    My wife is a teacher and non-political. She likes CCSS for its neatness and tidiness. She claims she will still be in control of curriculum, where the real power in education is held. If she is right then I see CCSS as a way to balance local power with federal rights.

    My research shows a shadowy beginning to CCSS. Who are the people that started the concept, formed the corporation, attracted the principle’s associations and then the states?

    The web site for CCSS says in its first sentence that CCSS is ‘the first step’ in developing an education model. I wonder what step two will be.

    Bill Gates, who has tied himself to CCSS and is helping to pay the advertising bill, has said the standards are a first step and will help produce the curriculum.

    Corporations and government coming together for the good of the people.

    What could go wrong?

    Chuckling along to heaven,

    Deacon Dan

    • 4. modres  |  May 16, 2013 at 7:55 AM

      Thanks for the info, Dan!

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