The Threat to Privacy No One is Talking About
The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is the federal government’s latest effort to “improve public education.”
On the surface it sounds nice. They say it’s all about creating a common standard of learning and conducting better assessments of student and teacher performance.
But the truth is, Common Core is plenty controversial.
Many of the objections you’ll hear about Common Core focus on the curriculum. But there’s an even bigger issue that few people are talking about: the unsettling alliance between the government and big corporations.
Together, these giants are pushing hard to get Common Core into every school system.
But the real reason for the big push is not to bring test scores up, or to improve student performance. It’s all about setting up the biggest data-mining program in the history of the country. A data-mining program that must have the NSA green with envy.
Cradle-to-Grave Data Mining
From pre-school through high school onto college and even into the job field…
That’s how long states adopting Common Core want to track your children.
They’ll be gathering data on each and every student. The student’s name. The names of his parents. Details about his household. His address. His social security number. Even bio-metric information like his fingerprints and a scan of his iris.
Of course his test scores will be in there. And his transcripts.
But that’s not all. The government’s grand vision goes much further…
What They Want to
Know Will Surprise You
Department of Education (DOE) bureaucrats also want to collect complex psychological data. Things like how a student responds to failure. How she develops strategies in order to solve problems. What her impulse control is like. How often she seeks out a challenge. And her parents’ religious and political affiliations would be in there, too.
The DOE wants access to it all. But under current privacy laws, the DOE can only collect something called “aggregate data.”
That means they get basic statistics. Things like, what percentage of Alabama third graders are performing well in math, for example.
But now, the DOE is pushing to get access to data at the individual level.
These Guys Make the
NSA Look Like Amateurs
In a recent interpretation of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, the DOE claimed that government agencies from the local to federal level can designate someone they choose as an “educational representative.”
That person can then access and interpret student information on an individual level. (This interpretation is being challenged in the legal system, but it clearly shows the DOE’s intent.)
All the while, DOE bureaucrats assure us that it’s perfectly fine to gather all this data, because it can’t possibly be misused. Only aggregate data is shared, after all.
But they’re not fooling us.
No matter how they spin it, the data will exist as individual data. Tied to an individual name. And sooner or later bureaucrats will misuse it. Hackers will find their way into the databases. Or politicians will pass laws giving more access to it.
If Common Core goes forward under the current design, within a generation, the government will have a comprehensive psychological, academic, and personal profile on every citizen who moved through their public school system.
How Much Should the
Government Know About Our Kids?
It’s all supposed to be in the name of improving education. But do you really want the government to have this kind of information about your kids?
Would you want them to have it about you?
The government isn’t the only player to consider.
To gather this kind of data requires third-party software development. And those software developers give school systems the option to share all this information with educational product developers “to power the learning applications that are implemented in their classrooms.”
… whatever that means.
In the end, states and school districts will decide if student data is shared. Not parents.
Strictly speaking, data mining is not “part” of Common Core. But the big supporters of Common Core are using it to put this data-mining program in place. And the federal government is tying the release of federal grant money to states’ willingness to implement such systems.
What Can You Do About It?
If you have children or grandchildren in a school system that has adopted Common Core — 45 states have — then you’ll want to take action to opt them out of this oppressive data-mining scheme.
As a parent, you have the right to control what information about your child is gathered and shared.
I strongly recommend you contact your school system and arrange to ‘opt-out’ of this program. It’s up to you to keep your child’s data secure from government agencies and prying corporations.
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