ESSA – What’s really in it?

This is a repost from a blog. The writer spent 3 days reading the entire 1000+ pages and offers their thoughts with details:

WHAT ESSA REALLY SAYS

07 Dec, 2015 by in education, ESEA, ESSA, NCLB, secretary of education Leave a comment

Image source: Gifted Education Online Resources

 

What is actually contained in the Every Student Succeeds Act, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act?
I wanted to know.

So I spent three days straight reading EVERY SINGLE WORD the 1061 page bill which is set to go to the Senate for a vote tomorrow. I ask all congressmen to read the bill, especially the more concerning portions outlined below.

Know what you are voting on is not an end to common core or a return to local control. It is an expansion of “the secretary’s” duties and Federal control.

ESSA outlines data collection, competency based pay for teachers, pipeline services from birth to age 20, new federally monitored “promise” neighborhoods, an expansion of data driven computer adaptive testing, and in-school mental health services which will not be protected by HIPPA privacy protection laws.  It is an erosion of local control and the continuation of a data driven model which corporate interests will benefit from.

Do me a favor, count how many times you read the words “the secretary.”

 

READ THE BILL here

 

P.46

‘‘(7) FAILURE TO MEET REQUIREMENTS.—If a 21 State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section, the Secretary may withhold funds for State administration under this part until the Secretary determines that the State has fulfilled those requirements.

P120

‘‘(viii) Information submitted by the State educational agency and each local educational agency in the State, in accordance with data collection conducted pursu- ant to section 203(c)(1) of the Department of Education Organization Act (20 U.S.C. 3413(c)(1)), on—

‘‘(I) measures of school quality, climate, and safety, including rates of in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, school-related arrests, referrals to law enforcement, chronic absenteeism (including both excused and unexcused absences), incidences of violence, including bullying and harassment; and

P.85 .

‘‘(II) For purposes of subclause (I),the State may include measures of— ‘‘(III) student engagement;‘‘(IV) educator engagement;‘‘(V) student access to and completion of advanced coursework;‘‘(VI) postsecondary readiness;‘‘(VII) school climate and safety; and‘‘(VIII) ANY OTHER INDICATOR the State chooses that meets the requirements of this clause

Does the Government also intend to regulate private schools? See pages 186-187, 833-840

11 SEC. 1011. PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN ENROLLED IN
12 PRIVATE SCHOOLS.
13 Section 1117, as redesignated by section 1000(3), is
14 amended—
15 (1) in subsection (a)—
16 (A) by striking paragraph (1) and insert-
17 ing the following:
18 ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—To the extent consistent
19 with the number of eligible children identified under
20 section 1115(c) in the school district served by a
21 local educational agency who are enrolled in private
22 elementary schools and secondary schools, a local
23 educational agency shall—
24 ‘‘(A) after timely and meaningful consulta-
25 tion with appropriate private school officials,
1 provide such children, on an equitable basis and
2 individually or in combination, as requested by
3 the officials to best meet the needs of such chil-
4 dren, special educational services, instructional
5 services (including evaluations to determine the
6 progress being made in meeting such students’
7 academic needs), counseling, mentoring, one-on-
8 one tutoring, or other benefits under this part
9 (such as dual or concurrent enrollment, edu-
10 cational radio and television, computer equip-
11 ment and materials, other technology, and mo-
12 bile educational services and equipment) that
13 address their needs; and
14 ‘‘(B) ensure that teachers and families of
15 the children participate, on an equitable basis,
16 in services and activities developed pursuant to
17 section 1116.’’;
18 (B) by striking paragraph (3) and insert-
19 ing the following:
20 ‘‘(3) EQUITY.—
21 ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—Educational services
22 and other benefits for such private school chil-
23 dren shall be equitable in comparison to serv-
24 ices and other benefits for public school chil
1 dren participating under this part, and shall be
2 provided in a timely manner.
3 ‘‘(B) OMBUDSMAN.—To help ensure such
4 equity for such private school children, teach-
5 ers, and other educational personnel, the State
6 educational agency involved shall designate an
7 ombudsman to monitor and enforce the require-
8 ments of this part.’’;

Palau?

P.198

(b) ASSISTANCE TO OUTLYING AREAS.—5 ‘‘(1) FUNDS RESERVED.—From the amount made available for any fiscal year under subsection7 (a)(1), the Secretary shall—8 ‘‘(A) first reserve $1,000,000 for the Republic of Palau, until Palau enters into an agreement for extension of United States educational assistance under the Compact of FreeAssociation, and subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary may establish, except that Public Law 95–134, permitting the consolidation of grants, shall not apply;

 

States are gathering data and reporting to “the Secretary”

P232

‘(ix) gather data, solicit regular feed- back from teachers, principals, other school leaders, and parents, and assess the results of each year of the program of demonstration authority under this section, and respond by making needed changes to the innovative assessment system; and

‘‘(x) report data from the innovative assessment system annually to the Secretary, including—

19 ‘‘(i) a description of the local educational agencies within the State educational agency that will participate, including what criteria the State has for approving any additional local educational agencies to participate during the demonstration authority period;

 

p289

  1. ‘‘(h) NONCOMPLIANCE.—The Secretary may, after

  2. 15  providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing (includ-
  3. 16  ing the opportunity to provide supporting evidence as pro-
  4. 17  vided for in subsection (i)), terminate a local flexibility
  5. 18  demonstration agreement under this section if there is evi-
  6. 19  dence that the local educational agency has failed to com-
  7. 20  ply with the terms of the agreement and the requirements
  8. 21  under subsections (d) and (e).

P337

Incentivized teaching

to improve within-district equity in the distribution of teachers, consistent with sec- tion 1111(g)(1)(B), such as initiatives that pro- vide—

‘‘(i) expert help in screening can- didates and enabling early hiring;

‘‘(ii) differential and incentive pay for teachers, principals, or other school leaders in high-need academic subject areas and specialty areas, which may include per- formance-based pay systems;

‘‘(iii) teacher, paraprofessional, prin- cipal, or other school leader advancement and professional growth, and an emphasis on leadership opportunities, multiple career paths, and pay differentiation

P348 Human capital

  1. (2) to study and review performance-based
  2. 9  compensation systems or human capital manage-
  3. 10  ment systems for teachers, principals, or other
  4. 11  school leaders to evaluate the effectiveness, fairness,
  5. 12  quality, consistency, and reliability of the systems

3) HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.— The term ‘human capital management system’ means a system—
‘‘(A) by which a local educational agency makes and implements human capital decisions, such as decisions on preparation, recruitment, hiring, placement, retention, dismissal, compensation, professional development, tenure, and promotion; and
‘‘(B) that includes a performance-based compensation system.
‘‘(4) PERFORMANCE-BASED COMPENSATION SYSTEM.—The term ‘performance-based compensation system’ means a system of compensation for teachers, principals, or other school leaders”

Are our students Human Capital or are they children?

 

Teachers and Administrators See pages p350-359!

p351

1 ‘‘SEC. 2212. TEACHER AND SCHOOL LEADER INCENTIVE 2 FUND GRANTS. 3 ‘‘(a) GRANTS AUTHORIZED.—From the amounts reserved by the Secretary under section 2201(1), the Secretary shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to enable the eligible entities to develop, implement, improve, or expand performance-based compensation systems or human capital management systems, in schools served by the eligible entity.

 

P404
‘‘(B) use evidence-based screening assessments for early identification of such students beginning not later than kindergarten;

 

P 453

23 ‘‘(6) SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES PROVIDER.—The term ‘school-based mental 25 health services provider’ includes a State-licensed or State-certified school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, or other State licensed or certified mental health professional qualified underState law to provide mental health services to children and adolescents

Pages 599-618 are in my opinion the scariest section of the bill. They prescribe expanded learning time, pipeline services, full-service community schools, neighborhoods of promise and ‘‘(B) A needs assessment that identifies the academic, physical, nonacademic, health, mental health, and other needs of students, families, and community residents. This is federal intrusion into the home, the neighborhood and the health records of students.

Also see p 617.

 

Pgs 599-608
Expanded learning time

‘‘(ii) ensuring appropriate diagnostic assessments and referrals for children with disabilities and children aged 3 through 9 experiencing developmental delays, con- sistent with the Individuals with Disabil- ities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.), where applicable.

‘‘(B) Supporting, enhancing, operating, or expanding rigorous, comprehensive, effective educational improvements, which may include high-quality academic programs, expanded learning time, and programs and activities to prepare students for postsecondary education admissions and success.

 

P617

Needs assessment for pipeline services

‘‘(B) A needs assessment that identifies

the academic, physical, nonacademic, health, mental health, and other needs of students, families, and community residents

 

13 ‘‘(22) EXPANDED LEARNING TIME.—The term

14 ‘expanded learning time’ means using a longer

15 school day, week, or year schedule to significantly

16 increase the total number of school hours, in order

17 to include additional time for—‘‘(A) activities and instruction for enrich- ment as part of a well-rounded education; and ‘‘(B) instructional and support staff to col- laborate, plan, and engage in professional devel- opment (including professional development on family and community engagement) within and

across grades and subjects. P 783

 

Page 793
PROGRAMS NOT PROVIDING CREDIT.—Except as provided in subparagraph (A)(ii)(I)(bb), a student who is retained in grade or who is enrolled in a program leading to a general equivalency diploma, or other alternative educational program that does not issue or provide credit toward the issuance of a regular high school diploma, shall not be considered transferred out and shall remain in the adjusted cohort.

page 914

SEC. 9206. POSTHUMOUS PARDON.14 (a) FINDINGS.

—Congress finds the following:15 (1) John Arthur ‘‘Jack’’ Johnson was a flamboyant, defiant, and controversial figure in the history of the United States who challenged racial biases.19 (2) Jack Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878 to parents who were former slaves.21 (3) Jack Johnson became a professional boxer and traveled throughout the United States, fighting White and African-American heavyweights.24 (4) After being denied (on purely racial grounds) the opportunity to fight…

It goes on until page 918

Why is a posthumous pardon of a boxer in an education bill?

Why do we need 1061 pages of bill released two days before the House vote to repeal No Child Left Behind? Let teachers teach. Let local LEA’s govern their own schools. Let parents be the primary entity in charge of their child’s education. The family is the central unit of our society. Not the school. Not the federal government.

This is just the tip of the iceburg.

Dig in and read ESSA for yourself.

Tell me what you think after 50 pages.

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ESSA

Analysis of the conference report on ESSA

Sources:

Actual Vote

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/114-2015/h665

US Parents Involved in Education (USPIE)

http://www.uspie.org/federal-mandates.html

Text of Bill

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Ee8FdtdhGNdGtrV2FsbHA4N0U/view?pli=1

Christel Swasey’s Analysis

https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/this-is-the-moment-congress-we-are-watching-you-vote-and-we-know-whats-in-this-bill/

TAE

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/elementary-and-secondary-education-act/the-esea-reauthorization-conference-report-is-now-public/

Mercedes Schneider

https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/every-student-succeeds-act-essa-passes-house-359-64/

Joy Pullman

http://thefederalist.com/2015/11/23/speaker-ryans-new-transparent-house-rushing-400-page-nclb-bill/

Dora Taylor-Seattle

https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/put-the-brakes-on-the-esea-reauthorization-bill/


National Coalition (including Mike/Karen/Breann)

http://edlibertywatch.org/2015/10/for-immediate-release-national-coalition-opposes-no-child-left-behind-rewrite-conference-bill/

http://www.flstopcccoalition.org/files/340E4386-4C72-4839-A8DC-2F671AF25561–0B810B12-A6E9-4D7F-9414-7DC79D4D7940/congressional-esea-letter-final.pdf


Liberty Watch

http://edlibertywatch.org/2015/11/red-alert-nanny-state-nclb-rewrite-moving-forward/


INITIAL NOTES

*Competency model and testing is mentioned on pages 209 and 221,
This is a rebirth of School to Work stuff from the 90’s
I did see this on TAE
“First, as it relates to Common Core, this bill is like slamming the barn door shut after the horses have already run out. The damage has been done.

Second, the bill still requires state plans and gives the Secretary of Education enormous authority to approve or disapprove them which in reality negates the claims that this bill do anything to help states get rid of Common Core.

Third, this bill expands early childhood funding and thus federal strings into pre-school. The bill’s language still reflects a change in No Child Left Behind’s application to “all public elementary school and secondary school students” with “all public school students.”

Fourth, this bill still contains a testing mandate and the opt-out amendment that was added to the original House bill has been stripped out.

-Literacy program grants for BIRTH through grade 12. Pages 367-382.
-New wording added throughout.

“Local educational agencies, (new addition) educational service agencies, and schools”
p 918 line 19-22,  919 line 14-16 and it continues.  What is an educational service agency?
-Community schools are mentioned on pages 491-492
-Data privacy language is under the heading of “sense of Congress” which I learned upon looking it up means it’s like a nonbinding resolution.
-Page 734, line 13, we have Secretary of Education, Secretary of Interior, and Secretary of Health and Human services all working together….
**********************************
Christel’s article:

Here, the feds dictate (page 24) what percentage of funds the state will use and for what purpose.  (7 percent for this, not less than 95 percent for that, 3 percent for this… on and on through page 32).

The feds dictate that the states then must turn around and inflict fed-like micromanagement on localities; they must be “monitoring and evaluating the use of funds by local education agencies” (page 26) and must give out monies to localities only if they “demonstrate the strongest commitment to using funds…[as feds see fit] and states must“align other Federal, State and local resources“.

(There’s that word “align” that we have read ten billion times in the past four years as we read official documents implementing Common Core and Common Data Standards.  The word pops up again on page 33:  “coursework that is aligned with the challenging State academic standards“.  They’ve now dropped  references to Common Core State Standards as well as any reference to College and Career Ready Standards.  But the word “aligned” they have not dropped.  It’s in the document 72 times, and,  notably, the word “standards” is in the document 269 times and “challenging state academic standards” is repeated 24 times; just not “Common Core” labeled anymore.  To me, “align” in ed reform now means to superglue to a global sameness; it means forget about scholastic creativity or imagination; it means forget about originality or home-grown ideas and powers.  It means that you are not represented; you are assimilated.   But I am off on a tangent.)

Pages 34 and 35 repeat the mantra that funds must be prioritized to low-achievers.  (First of all, how dare you tell a state how to prioritize its funds?  Secondly, how are the feds so sure that mid and high achievers won’t mind losing funding for their misdeed of having achieved?  Are mid or high achievers’ needs not all that important, anyway?)  Harrison Bergeron comes to mind; this is the Handicapper General at work.

Page 36 promises “a sufficient number of options to provide a meaningful choice for parents” which is a lie, of course; think about it.  Federal laws and conditional monies mean using federally approved standards and tests and CURRICULUM in every school receiving federal funds.  This is far from meaningful and it represents an extremely narrowed and controlled set of choices.  Meaningful does not happen in an atmosphere of standardized everything, just as wonderous meals do not bloom in the kitchens of McDonald’s.

Page 37 dictates that American tax dollars may only “provide instruction and content that is secular“.  This is old news.  But it is not old news that federal funds are increasingly being offered to private schools.  Does this mean that the feds are softening and will share taxpayers’ dollars with those who choose to attend private religious schools?  No.  It means that private schools are being coerced to secularize their core curricula and services so that they may receive federal money.

Page 38 is Section 1111:  STATE PLANS.

We’ll rename this one “Mother May I?”  (Thanks, Wendy Hart.)

States say:  “Mother, May I adopt these standards?”  Secretary of Education or his appointees say “no”.  Rinse and repeat until states eventually ask to adopt what the Secretary has already settled upon.  Here’s how it works:

Page 38:  “…State educational agency shall file will the Secretary a plan” which must meet, among other things, “Secretarial Approval” (page 39 line 23) and must be approved by a review team appointed by the federal Secretary of Education. (page 39-40)  That team (page 42) will have the authority to disapprove a state plan.  The state may revise its plan, appeal for a hearing (page 43) but ultimately, the process will “promote effective implementation of the challenging State academic standards [aka Common Core]” (page 43).

 

If ANYONE tries to tell you that this bill gives power to the States, point to these pages.  With such huge veto-wielding power, and review team appointing power, the Secretary becomes king over anything any state wants to do.  This is not good.  You can stop here.  That’s enough ammo.  VOTE NO.

I have to point out some sickening hypocrisy on page 44.  The review team must provide “objective feedback to the States” with “respect for State and local judgments with the goal of supporting State and local-led innovation“.  If your goal is to support State innovation, why not return to the Constitution which gives exactly ZERO authority to the feds in anything relating to education, tests, standards, or teachers!?

More hypocrisy on the same page: “Neither the Secretary nor the political appointees of the Department may attempt to participate in or influence the peer review process”.

On page 45:  “If a state makes significant changes to its plan at any time, such as the adoption of new challenging State academic standards or new academic assessments or changes to its accountability system… such information shall be submitted to the Secretary…”

Same page:  “If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section, the Secretary may withhold funds…” MICROMANAGEMENT HEAVEN.

A bit of a toothless joke on page 47:  “The State, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that public comments were taken into account”.

Page 47 also gives us this sobering mouthful:  “Each state, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that the State has adopted challenging academic content standards and aligned academic achievement standards (referred to in this Act as ‘challenging State academic standards’), which achievement standards shall include not  less than 3 levels of achievement…”  If you have studied how children are assessed, tracked and predestined to relegated top, middle, or bottom schools and careers in nations shackled by communism and socialism, this will make you very unhappy.

Page 48 says the state MUST align its standards to colleges and to tech-ed schools.

Page 49 says that only a small percentage of special education students– those with “the most significant cognitive disabilities” may be excused, and may use alternate standards, and only then if those alternate standards are “aligned with the challenging State academic content standards”.  On page 50 it adds that that severely disabled person must be “on track to pursue postsecondary education or employment” whether they want to or not.  The feds are not kind to special education students.  And they won’t let states determine these matters anymore.  Sadly, we already knew all of this was coming.

Page 51 offers us another blistering contradiction:  “The Secretary shall not have the authority to mandate, direct, control, coerce, or exercise any direction or supervision over any of the challenging State academic standards…”  Tell me how that works with page 45.   He can withhold funds and disapprove plans if the state files a plan that he doesn’t like for a slew of reasons that could include using curriculum, tests or standards that aren’t aligned to his vision of fed ed and he can mandate that the state has to use the exact same standards in every one of its schools (page 52 line 21) — but he in no way supervises the State’s standards?

Page 52 deals with “Academic Assessments”.  Feds dictate to states that the tests shall be the same in every school in the state (line 23) and that they will be “administered to all public elementary and secondary school students in the State” (page 53).  Does this end –or aim to end– the parental right to opt out of testing?  (See page 76 below)

Page  53 is an admission.  The bill says that the tests may not be used to “publically disclose personally identifiable information”.   They can’t disclose it publicly, but they can sure store it indefinitely.

Subtly, page 53 forces Common Educational Data Standards because the feds dictate that state tests must be:  “consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical testing standards”.

Next, the dictators tell states when and how much to test children:

page 54:  in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (every year) for math and language arts

in grades 9, 10, 11, 12 (at least once)

in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 for science (at least three times in those years)

On page 55, the dictators bring down the hammer:  “the participation in such assessments of all students”.  ALL.

On page 58 we see the racism and other -isms of the Department of Education: States are told that they must disaggregate test data by ethnicity, race, economics, disability, English proficiency, gender, and migrant status.

On page 59 we see the toxic term “universal design for learning“.  Tests are to be developed using IMS Global education standards.  This means not just state or national, but global sameness and tracking.  Is that a good idea or a bad one?  Is that something that we ought to have Congress think about for more than one day prior to a vote?

On page 61 the feds are dictating to states that no more than one percent of students may be considered so disabled that they may take alternate-standards-based tests.  “The total number of students assessed… using alternate assessments does  not exceed 1 percent of the total number of all students in the State”.  Later, on page 65, the bill says that there is no cap; but that schools must submit information “justifying the need to exceed such a cap”.  It also notes that the State shall provide “oversight” of any school required to submit justifying information.  In other words, States must show that they are monitoring schools’ decision making.

How would the federal government ever know whether a state happened to have fewer, or a greater number of students who needed and deserved something other than what the highest achieving students can and should do?  On what basis does it dictate one percent?  What if my child is severely disabled and is forced to take the common tests and to be taught to common standards inappropriate for him or her, because of the high number of students with disabilties?  How does that bless my child?

On page 62 they’re dictating “universal design for learning” again; this time, for severely disabled special education testing.

Page 66 is literally jaw-dropping to me.  It says that if the state “provides evidence which is satisfactory to the Secretary that neither the State Educational Agency nor any other State government official… has sufficient authority under State law to adopt challenging State academic standards and academic assessments aligned with such standards [aka Common Core standards and tests] which will be applicable to all students enrolled in the State’s public elementary schools and secondary schools, then the State educational agency may meet the requirements…”  by aligning unofficially anyway, bymeeting “all of the criteria…and any regulations… that the Secretary may publish”.  (page 67)   If your state law doesn’t allow for one size fits all, then adopt and implement policies that ensure that you are aligned anyway, or lose funding.  Talk about kicking Constitutional rights in the teeth.  This is dictatorship.

On page 69, states are told to dictate to schools again.  They must filter tests through the filter of “already been approved” (line 18) or they must “conduct a review of the assessment to determine if such assessment meets or exceeds the technical criteria” that has to be “established” (line 9) by the state.  This sounds to me like more herding of everybody into IMS Global’s universal design for learning.

On page 73, it almost sounds good until you finish the sentence.  It begins, “a State retains the right to develop and administer computer adaptive assessments, provided that….” and then we lose all the rights again, because they have to be aligned, aligned, aligned.

On page 76, it says that States can still decide whether or not to allow parents to opt out of testing but limits that concept to one paragraph:  “nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting State” law.  So, in the rest of the over-1000-page bill, something might.  This is not making me feel better.

*********************************************************************

HISTORY

BILL GATES AND THE EROSION OF STUDENT PRIVACY

This article appears at: http://www.studentprivacymatters.org/bill-gates-and-the-erosion-of-student-privacy/#st_refDomain=www.facebook.com&st_refQuery=/ 

 

bill gates v5

Bill Gates has had an enduring fixation on the need to expand the collection and sharing of personal student data. In 2005, the Gates Foundation organized a “data summit” among its grantees, at which launched the Data Quality Campaign, “to Improve the collection, availability and use of high-quality education data, and Implement state longitudinal data systems to improve student achievement.”

The Data Quality Campaign has received more than $13 millionsince 2013 from the Foundation, which they have used to advocate for the US Department of Education to weaken student privacy protections and to allow for the sharing of personal student information among state agencies, between states, and with researchers, test companies, and technology vendors.

In 2008 and 2011, The Data Quality Campaign, along with its “partners” among other Gates grantees, successfully lobbied the US Ed Dept. to relax FERPA, to allow for the creation of state longitudinal databases to link student data from preK through the workforce and beyond, and the disclosure and redisclosure of personal student data with a wide variety of third parties without parental knowledge or consent.

According to a participant in a webinar hosted by the Data Quality Campaign on April 14, 2011, Steve Winnick, a prominent DC attorney working for DQC emphasized the need to deny parents the right to consent or opt out of their children’s data being disclosed, saying, “we don’t want parents to get in the way.” You can see the 2011 fact sheet released by Steve Winnick and the Data Quality Campaign about the many ways the US Department of Education weakened this “outdated” privacy law in response to their advocacyhere.

Earlier in 2009, the Foundation granted $22 million to schools, districts, and states for them to expand their data collection and disclosure efforts, and in 2011, spent $87 million to form the Shared Learning Collaborative, which in 2014 would morph into a separate corporation called inBloom Inc.

inBloom Inc. which would receive more than $100M in Gates funds before closing its doors due to parent protests in 2014, was a hydra-headed effort to collect the personal data from nine states and districts, store it on an Amazon cloud, with an operating system built by Amplify, and make it more easily accessible to ed tech vendors and other third parties without parental knowledge or consent. Here is more background on inBloom; here are a timeline and news clips.

Gates incentivized districts and states to participate in this project of data collection and sharing, with promises of big grants.  The Foundation also offered cash awards to vendors who would build their instructional products around this data, through  “interoperable” software.

inBloom was designed to help achieve Bill Gates vision of education: to mechanize instruction by plugging every child into a common curriculum, standards and tests, delivered by computers, with software that can data-mine their responses and through machine-driven algorithms, deliver “customized” lessons and adaptive learning.  By siphoning off the data into state and multi-state databases and then tracking children through life, educrats can better evaluate which teachers and software programs are effective, and also steer students towards appropriate college and careers, all in the name of improved “efficiency”. Gates has also funded multi-state student databases, which were illegal before FERPA was relaxed, including granting WICHE with more than $13 million, to enable the transfer of personal student information between fifteen Western states.

Since the demise of inBloom, the Gates Foundation has not given up their attempt to supplant real personalized learning with learning through software and machines. Recently, with the Future of Privacy, an ed tech industry group, they funded a survey that was pitched as showing that parents support schools sharing the personal data of their children, but upon further digging really showed the opposite.

Gates has also funded a new effort, in which 27 school districts along with The Consortium for School Networking, will create a “Trusted Learning Environment Seal” to reassure parents that their children’s data is safe. In this way, they appear intent on controlling the student privacy debate , and co-opting the intense parent concerns about rampant data disclosure that led to inBloom’s downfall.

Common Core Math Video

You judge whether the 21st Century math is better than 20th Century math…

https://youtu.be/ZIz3vASG40g

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S.

Photo

Elizabeth DiNolo, center, a teacher at Rumney Marsh Academy in Revere, Mass., handed out graded tests in her eighth-grade algebra class this month. CreditCharlie Mahoney for The New York Times
 BOSTON — It has been one of the most stubborn problems in education: With 50 states, 50 standards and 50 tests, how could anyone really know what American students were learning, or how well?

At a dinner with colleagues in 2009, Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts’s commissioner of education, hatched what seemed like an obvious answer — a national test based on the Common Core standards that almost every state had recently adopted.

Now Dr. Chester finds himself in the awkward position of walking away from the very test he helped create.

On his recommendation, the State Board of Education decided last week that Massachusetts would go it alone and abandon the multistate test in favor of one to be developed for just this state. The move will cost an extra year and unknown millions of dollars.

Photo

The president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Barbara Madeloni, standing left, who has spoken out against high-stakes tests, at a campaign house party this month. She is seeking re-election.

CreditChristopher Capozziello for The New York Times

But no about-face has resonated more than the one in Massachusetts, for years a leader in education reform. This state embraced uniform standards and tests with consequences more than two decades before the Common Core, and by 2005, its children led all states in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the nation’s report card, and rose above all other countries, save Singapore, in science.

The state’s participation was seen as validation of the Common Core and the multistate test; Dr. Chester became the chairman of the board that oversees the test Massachusetts joined. The state’s rejection of that test sounded the bell on common assessments, signaling that the future will now look much like the past — with more tests, but almost no ability to compare the difference between one state and another.

“It’s hugely symbolic because Massachusetts is widely seen as kind of the gold standard in successful education reform,” said Morgan Polikoff, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, who is leading an evaluation of the national tests. “It opens the door for a lot of other states that are under a lot of pressure to repeal Common Core. Getting rid of these tests is a nice bone to throw.”

The fight in Massachusetts has been dizzying, with a strange alliance between the teachers’ union and a conservative think tank that years before had been a chief proponent of the state’s earlier drive for standards and high-stakes tests. As in other states, conservatives complained of federal overreach into local schooling, while the union objected to tying the tests to teacher evaluations. The debate drew money from national political players like the billionaire David Koch and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Amid the noise, many parents had trouble understanding what the Common Core was, or argued that the nation’s public schoolchildren took too many tests. So while parents and students here did not opt out of testing in the waves they did in places like New York and New Jersey, they also did not express much support.

“It’s much more about politics than it is about education,” said Tom Scott, the executive director of the state superintendents’ association, which had encouraged the state to keep the multistate test.

People on either side of the debate here still celebrate the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 as “the grand bargain.” Democratic legislators and the Republican governor at the time, William F. Weld, agreed to give schools more money in exchange for ambitious standards defining what students were expected to learn and new tests tied to those standards, including one that, by 2003, students had to pass to graduate from high school.

But while state scores rose, there were still hints that the new standards were not teaching the skills students needed. The number requiring remedial education in college remained high. So the state joined in when the National Governors Association began drafting what became the Common Core, a description of the skills students should learn by the time they graduated from high school. Because of the state’s expertise, large numbers of its teachers joined in writing the standards. The state adopted them in 2010.

Dr. Chester and his counterparts in Louisiana and Florida proposed that states also combine resources on a test, not only to compare results but to afford a better test design.

As states rolled out the new tests over the last two years, parents and teachers pushed back in states from Oregon to Florida. There were technical glitches, as well as complaints that the exams were too hard and too long. When states began reporting poor results, parents and policy makers did not necessarily see the benefit of comparing their schools with others.

But at hearings here this fall, many superintendents and teachers testified that the new test, known as Parcc, for the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, had improved what was happening in classrooms. Given the choice between the state’s old test and the multistate test this spring, more than half the state’s school districts chose Parcc.

“If we revert back to the old standards, all this work will have been for naught,” said Dianne Kelly, the superintendent in Revere, who credits the standards for tripling the number of students taking algebra in eighth grade and doubling the number taking Advanced Placement courses.

The opposition came from what might have once seemed an unlikely place, the Pioneer Institute, a conservative think tank that had been a driver behind the higher standards in the 1993 legislation. It had hired Tom Birmingham, who as a Democratic state senator had been a co-author of that legislation. He warned that the state would be pressured to lower standards as other states hid failure by lowering the bar for passing.

“It becomes not a race to the top but a race to the middle,” Mr. Birmingham said in an interview.

The federal government was not involved in writing the Common Core. But Pioneer, like other conservative groups, argued that the Obama administration had forced it on states by granting money to the national tests. As part of its Race to the Top program, the administration in 2010 awarded about $350 million to design the Parcc and the other national test, known as Smarter Balanced.

Photo

Mitchell Chester, the Massachusetts commissioner of education CreditCharlie Mahoney for The New York Times

That argument persuaded even educators who believed the Common Core was improving what happened in the classroom.

“It was almost like extortion — if you want this money, you have to do things the way we want,” said Todd Gazda, the superintendent in Ludlow, near the western Massachusetts city of Springfield.

The president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Paul Toner, had supported the Parcc test. But in 2014, the membership elected a new president, Barbara Madeloni, who had campaigned against high-stakes tests, period.

“It is destructive to our students and our teachers and the very possibility of joyful and meaningful public education,” Dr. Madeloni said in an interview.

“We’ve really flipped the narrative in a year,” she said.

Supporters of the standards countered that Pioneer’s biggest donors include Mr. Koch and the Walton Family Foundation, funders of other conservative causes. Jim Stergios, Pioneer’s executive director, said, “David Koch never talked to me about Common Core.”

Supporters of Parcc also accused its opponents of distorting facts. The opponents argued, for instance, that the new standards squeezed out literature and poetry. In fact, Common Core requires students to read more nonfiction, but only because it requires them to do expository reading in all subjects, including science and math.

“The opposition was making some wild claims that the proponents answered with factual information, assuming that everyone would take a very rational approach to the facts and reach a valid conclusion,” said Linda M. Noonan, the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, a proponent of higher standards. “But that isn’t how the public process works.”

The multistate exam was not the only one in the glut of testing, but it became the most toxic.

“We blew it,” said Mr. Scott, at the state superintendents’ association. “That’s too bad, because there’s a lot of good that’s going out with it.”

Making his recommendation for a new test to the state board of education, Dr. Chester described it as the best of both worlds. The new test will use Parcc content, which better reflects the Common Core, but the state will maintain the flexibility to change or add material without having to go through a committee of multiple states.

Dr. Chester said Massachusetts would remain in the Parcc consortium so it could compare results with other states.

“We’re increasingly a global world,” he said. “And the idea that 50 different states in the United States had 50 different definitions of what it means to be literate and what it means to know math — and on top of that those 50 states had 50 different assessments to determine whether you’re literate or whether you know math — makes little sense.”

But with states dropping out of the tests, comparisons remain elusive. Parcc began as a cooperation between 26 states, but now only five and the District of Columbia will use the test. Smarter Balanced began with 31 states — some states joined both groups — and now counts 15. Three states have repealed the Common Core altogether, and here a proposed ballot initiative would do the same.

Concerns about the tests have become self-fulfilling. Officials in Massachusetts said that the multistate test had become less appealing now that there were fewer states to compare and that they feared that Parcc would fail, leaving them without a test. Lawmakers in states still using the test point to the states’ withdrawing as evidence that it is not valid.

Still, Michael Cohen, the president of Achieve, a nonprofit founded by business groups and governors that helped states draft the Common Core, noted that even in states that are re-examining it and the Common Core, most are sticking with the higher standards.

“The notion that the Parcc brand is somehow toxic, that has happened and will continue to happen,” he said. “But at the end of the day, there will be, in the overwhelming majority of states, standards that are still highly common.”

Alaska – Appellate court upholds ruling that the Common Core testing consortiums violate the compact clause of the US Constitution

The Appellate court upholds ruling that the Common Core testing consortiums violate the compact clause of the US Constitution.

Alaskans Against the Common Core

The Appellate Court Upholds Rule that SBAC is unconstitutional.

Appellate Victory for Common Core Opponents

Missouri Court of Appeals dismisses Governor Nixon’s appeal, leaves in place trial court judgment enjoining Missouri from paying fees to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

On September 17, 2015, the Missouri Court of Appeals-Western District entered its judgment in Sauer v. Nixon, dismissing the State’s appeal and leaving in place the lower court’s injunction forbidding the State from paying membership fees to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Sauer v. Nixon was a lawsuit brought by Fred N. Sauer as lead plaintiff. He was joined by co-plaintiffs Anne Gassel and Gretchen Logue of Missourians Against Common Core. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an interstate compact that provides tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Sauer’s lawsuit prevailed in the trial court, which held Smarter Balanced is unconstitutional under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The trial court ordered the State not to pay membership fees to Smarter Balanced. Governor Nixon challenged this ruling on appeal.

After Sauer’s victory in court, the Missouri Legislature prohibited any further payments to Smarter Balanced, in keeping with the judgment in Sauer v. Nixon. The Missouri Court of Appeals then dismissed Governor Nixon’s appeal as moot. Governor Nixon’s attorneys asked the Court of Appeals to vacate the trial court’s judgment, but the Court of Appeals declined to do so. The Court of Appeals left intact the lower court’s judgment holding that Smarter Balanced is unconstitutional.

“Common Core represents an illegal overreach by the Obama Administration, a blatant attempt to federalize the curriculum of state and local schools,” Sauer said. “By committing the State of Missouri to adopt the Common Core State Standards and join Smarter Balanced, Governor Nixon violated the U.S. Constitution. He tried to cede Missouri’s sovereignty over educational policy to an organization of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. Missourians deserve better than this. We are glad our lawsuit has prompted the Legislature to act and pull Missouri out of Smarter Balanced.”

Mishmash of odds and ends

I’ve been gathering a bunch of items/topics that have accumulated to the point that it’s time to move them to the “live” page. So, without further ado here they are:

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Yet another Ed Reform That Doesn’t Work

AIR Experts Develop School Discipline Planning Guide for Educators

Feds spend $2.5M on mindfulness intervention for kindergarteners

Lawsuit to Stop Common Core

On Air News Read for November 13, 2015

Standardization isn’t Just Killing Students’ Creativity – It’s Killing Their Love of Creativity

Gates impact on Washington teachers and schools

Oregon teachers despise the Smarter Balanced tests, survey says