"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kindergarten - No One Gets In Without A Health Form

Another cautionary tale for parents regarding the data that schools are asking for.

I personally have held a Ghandi-esque crusade against the collection of health data on my children over the last several years. Like the mother below, I am completely in charge of my children's health needs. As a stay at home mom I am prepared to come get my children from school, at any time, should any health emergency arise and handle it myself. I do not expect the school to take over that responsibility, hence they do not need to know every little detail about my child's health. Thus, in the past I have filled in only the information that I deemed necessary for the school to know, in many cases simply writing in "normal" instead of providing details. As I predicted, the school only looked to see that the spaces were not blank and did not care about the actual information there. I was never called to provide more details.

However, the letter below from a mother in Utah indicates that I might need to change my position to outright defiance of such health information requests. At some point we must draw the line in the sand and make it clear that the system has no right to ask for, let alone require, such detailed personal information about our kids, just because they want to go to public school. If we fail to hold this line, our only option will be what this mother is considering - yanking them out and teaching them ourselves.

HEALTH FORMS – Because I’ve been concerned with CC for some time now, I was hyper-aware of my rights as a parent when it came time to register my youngest for Kindergarten this past August. The usual form asking for name, address, emergeny contact info etc. was mailed, but it also was attached to three separate health forms I “had” to get doctors to fill out. One was a physical health sheet, asking for things like height, weight, eye color, blood type. The next was a form for the dentist to fill out, asking for 3 things, including whether my child had fluoride treatments and if his teeth were abnormal in any way. The third was for an eye exam.

When parents stop and think about what the schools actually need to know in order to teach their child(ren), none of this makes sense. When parents finally realize that the school district DOES NOT take the place of parents, it’s beyond maddening. I REFUSED TO FILL THESE FORMS OUT. Any of them!

I marched over to the elementary school office with the first page filled out in the registration packet only, and handed it to the secretary. When she flipped through the papers and noticed everything else was blank, she told me I’d have to get the rest done before my son could be registered. When I told her I wasn’t going to be getting the rest filled out, she told me that was “just procedure” for all kids, and that the info would be kept private. I asked her how she could promise me that when the district asked for that info, not this school in particular. She didn’t have an answer, so she called the Principal to the office.

The Principal took me into her office and shut the door. She asked what my concerns were with the registration papers. I told her I didn’t believe any health information on my child was necessary to teach him. I told her also that as his parent, I am very capable of making sure his health needs are taken care of, and that if he needed glasses, hearing aids, etc., I would be the one to get it done, and in the event that my son DID need medication, additional medical appliances that the school needed to be aware of, I would notify them. Other than that, I told her, that was HIS private information, and they were not going to have it under any circumstance.

When I told the Principal this, she asked me, “Are you worried that if you take your son to the doctor that he’ll find something wrong with him?” I knew then that she saw my refusal to comply as unacceptable or unreasonable. I explained again that I was certain that my child was completely healthy and able to learn, but that I didn’t believe the school district needed to know his weight or blood type in order to teach him. She tried to tell me that these forms were given to her by the district, that she didn’t have anything to do with them, and everyone needed to follow the rules in order to do anything in life. She explained that she followed rules, and that she was aware that if she wanted something for her or her kids, she knew that certain rules applied and she was okay with that. I replied that I am a very staunch believer in rules, as long as they are justified and served a righteous purpose. At length I finally told her that I had NO problem homeschooling my son if these forms were necessary to enter Kindergarten.

That’s when she asked me, “So you’re familiar with Common Core, then?” At that moment I understood that the health forms were PART of Common Core. I told her I was familiar with Common Core, but still learning. She told me that CC would unify all schools, and make it SO much easier for transferring students to be on the same page. I replied that I didn’t like that my children would be treated like numbers, and that gov’t had no right to mandate what or how my children were taught. I FULLY expected her to retaliate and lie to me like everyone else who says, “Oh but our teachers DO get a say, they get to choose what and how they teach, etc. etc.” She simply shrugged and said, “Well, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.” Basically telling me that was right.
I left her office with her telling me that she’d have to call “student services” at the school district level and ask if it was okay that I didn’t fill out these health forms. Again, I reiterated that if I “had” to fill them out, I’d be filling out a different form to file with the state allowing me to homeschool.
Thirty minutes later, the secretary called my cell phone and left a message telling me that the health forms were NOT mandatory, and that all I needed to bring in was my proof of residence and vaccination exemption form in order to complete the registration process.

*** SCHOOL HEALTH FORMS ARE NOT MANDATORY!
*** DO NOT ENDANGER YOUR CHILD’S PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION!!
*** REFUSE TO FILL OUT ALL HEALTH FORMS!!

Tricia - Utah Parent



Tricia's principal seemed willing to acknowledge a parent's rights. Another principal in Connecticut told the parent that such information was necessary because the school was the "ad litem parent." This was clearly an attempt to bully a parent with legal verbiage that was, in fact, flat out wrong. A guardian ad litem is a person legally appointed, through court petition, to act on behalf of a minor specifically in a law suit or legal action. Enrolling your child in public school fulfills none of these conditions. Parents need to be prepared to ask questions and push back like this mother did.

Administrators should be required to show you where in the district's policy manual such conditions or requirements are spelled out. They should be able to site state statute or federal law that requires your compliance. They should be more than happy to comply with these requests since it takes responsibility off of them, at the collection point, for requiring this data. If they can provide policy, statute or law that mandates such sharing of personal information, then at least you know where you must spend your time and effort to get things changed.

History will determine the spin on this part of the story of public education. Did the parent deny the child a well rounded education because of an unwillingness to provide vision information? OR  Did the school system fail to provide a decent education for lack of a child's height and weight on a form? That's what it comes down to.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Common Core Standards and Data Collection Connection

But CCSS proponents insist the standards have nothing to do with data collection.  What's the true story?  The information will be individualized (see below) so it's really not so much about the schools as it is about individual data, right?


The Common Core proponents say the standards are only that: standards.  They contend they have nothing to do with the Longitudinal Data Systems and personally identifiable data collection.  From The CCSSO and a question about data collection:


Are there data collection requirements associated with the Common Core State Standards?

There are no data collection requirements of states adopting the CCSS. Standards define expectations for what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Implementing the CCSS does not require data collection. The means of assessing students and the data that results from those assessments are up to the discretion of each state and are separate and unique from the CCSS.

From the National PTA:

Is the federal government compiling student and family data into a federal database? No. Common Core is not a mechanism for federal data collection. Confusion over data collection likely comes from a misunderstanding of the National Education Data Model (NEDM), which is actually a framework describing the types of data that individual districts and states may choose to use to answer their own questions about policy. The NEDM does not contain any data, and there are no data collection requirements for the Standards. Federal law prohibits the reporting of aggregate data that could identify individual students. In addition, the federal government does not have access to the student-level information held in state databases.

What is their response to this Illinois Data Warehouse September 2010 pdf document?

The State Core Model - PESC

www.pesc.org/library/docs/.../State%20Core%20Model%2011-17.pdf
It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards ... The Model is designed to address unique, complex P20 SLDS relationships, business .... (and sometimes prenatally) to age 3; and preschool programs (also called ...... along the educational pipeline, which in higher education involves the ...

On page 2 it states there is a clear connection with data collection, state longitudinal data systems and in fact, the sets come preloaded with Common Core learning standards:


1.0   Abstract

The State Core Model is a common technical reference model for states implementing state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) adoption work with funding from the Gates Foundation.

The Model includes early childhood (EC), elementary and secondary (K12), post-secondary (PS), and workforce (WF) elements, known collectively as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states. The State Core Model will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia.



The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting (EDEN/EDFacts), support SEA, LEA, and research data-driven decision making, and enable exchange of comparable data between education agencies. The Model could enable states to vastly reduce the number and burden of data collection by replacing 625 distinct Federal reporting types with record-level data collections. In addition, it is designed to support dropout early warning intervention systems (DEWIS), positive behavior intervention systems (PBIS) and response to intervention (RTI), balanced scorecard performance management, and provide and extensible model capable of accommodating future needs.

The Model is designed to address unique, complex P20 SLDS relationships, business rules, and entity factoring including: properly distinguishing “official” vs “un-official” (but possibly more current) data; source files with different and or non-existent start and end dates; complex relationships between organizations; and people with multiple roles in multiple organizations including student-teacher linkage.

It addresses student-teacher link, common assessment data model, and comes pre-loaded with Common Core learning standards.
The State Core Model consists of three principle artifacts: (1) this document; (2) the “State Core Workbook” an Excel 2007 file containing the data dictionary and maps; and (3) a physical data model with scripts to support implementation of the model in major technical platforms. All three artifacts can be downloaded and used without charge or attribution from [the EIMAC group site].


1 .  The State Core Model will be used by the CEDS Adoption Implementation Task Force (AITF) to validate, improve, and expand future versions of the standards. It incorporates and acknowledges work previously published, specifically the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data handbook, National Education Data Model (NEDM) v2.0, Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) recommendations, School Interoperability Framework (SIF) v2.4 specification, Post-Secondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) schemas, State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) State of State PS Data Systems report , and Common Education Data Standards v1.0.


Pg. 7:


In this new world, students will use not one, but multiple devices each day to access their own,pervasivevirtual laptop to support a hybrid mix of online and face-to-face learner-centric experiences. Educators, parents, and other students will work in partnership with each student to achieve internationally benchmarked learning objectives at individualized pace

Like a car naviagation system, the learning management systems of the future will know the current location of each learner and be able to plot multiple, individualized paths to the Common Core and other academic goals.  Students will be able to select preferences of modality of instruction, language, and time.  And, like a car navigation system, even if they decide to take a detour, the system will always now where they are, where they want to do, and multiple paths to get there.





Pg. 65:
Standards & Assessments




The last two subjects are not central to the model, but are sufficiently important to warrant their own subjects. The first is Standards and Assessments. These entities have relationships to both People and Organizations.


They include:
· Assessments
· Assessment Result Sets (Student Scores)
· Learning Standards.

While ISBE may currently not have needs to store overly complex assessment information, it is expected that Illinois’s participation as a governing member of the PARCC assessment consortium will require more complex assessment data structures and maps to the Common Core academic standards.

You can see the ultimate goal is sharing this personally identifiable information on a global level (pg 71/74):


RDS: Snapshot












Note the final ILSDAC report (December 2010) does not mention Common Core or the global data sharing goal and they are conveniently left out of the final report.  However, look at this power point presentation below which is a powerpoint presentation based on the September 2010 report:


P20 State CoreLogical Data Model Presentation - September 2010

www.isbe.state.il.us/ILDS/pdf/ildsdac_meeting_092410_1.pdf
Page 2. NEDM k12 State Core and CCSSO P20 State Core Model. EXISTING. STATE LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM. P20 STATE CORE. (ODS-EAV-RDS) ...

It shows the global sharing goal on the powerpoint.  Why was this information left out of the December report?   Why is the connection between Common Education Data Sets (CEDS) and Common Core left out of the report? 

Do you believe the Common Core is not an important data collection vehicle?  How else are the assessments to be gathered, accessed, shared and compare if there are no common assessments and coded data sets?  The sets are coming pre-loaded with Common Core learning standards, so the expectation is that the assessment data will be gathered via these standards and assessments.

This link, (http://www.ibhe.state.il.us/academic%20affairs/p20.htm), will enable you to see Illinois' 2013 workforce plan and the MOU the state signed with the Gates Foundation in 2007 to establish common data sets and become the leader in data gathering/sharing of student information.  There is a clear expectation that this data gathering will extend to a number of states and will be shared on a national level.

The September 2010 report has been amended and contains a November 2010 update reporting on states wanting to adopt or had expressed interest in Illinois' data map:



Adoption Update


November 2010


The State Core Model has been developing and maturing over the last fourteen months. In the first phase of work, as part of the National Education Data Model (NEDM):
·    34 state data handbooks were mapped: AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI,
MN, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI, WV, and WY.
·    20 states were met with: AR, CO, CT, DE, IA, KS, MD, ME, MT, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OK, PA, TX, UT, VT, WA, WY.
·    3 states were mapped more deeply: NJ, IL, and WA

In this phase, mapping involved 4-5 hours of research per state with publicly published materials. The meetings were single, 1-hour webex sessions. Deep mapping involved development of comprehensive metadata workbooks.  This phase also involved mapping to 79 EDFacts file specifications.

The results of this work were published as part of NEDM v2.0 at the NCES MIS conference March 2010 and can be downloaded from the NCES IES official site: http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/reports.aspx

So far, in the second phase of the work, as part of CEDS, 20 states have expressed interest in the Model:

·    6 states have begun adoption: AR, IL, NJ, UT, WA, WY
·    8 states have indicated an interest in adoption: AZ, CA, CO, CT, IA, MS, MT, WV
·    6 states have asked to learn more: GA, NC, NV, OR, RI, and TN

An initial draft of the State Core Model was presented to state education data managers at the CCSSO EIMAC meeting October 5. A near final draft of the Model will be presented to the Nation’s chief education officers at CCSSO’s Annual Policy Forum November 19. Many more states are expected to become involved after that meeting.


The State Core Model will be available for states to adoption using the CEDS AITF adoption framework:

Level 1 Agree to use CEDS and the State Core Model:  The organization has made a formal decision to consider the data definitions, terminology and code sets for a core subset of data elements commonly used by and among state/district/postsecondary institution student information systems.

Level 2 Technically Documented:  The organization has mapped to and can publish technical documents with metadata* that includes, the data definitions, terminology and code sets for a core subset of data elements commonly used by states in their P-20 SLDSs.




It seems to me there is a clear connection between Common Core, CEDS, data collection and national linkage.  What do the Common Core proponents who insist there is no connection between CCSS and data collection say about this information?

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