Narrowly viewed, the unlawful “guidance” letter issued by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, implicitly threatening schools that refuse to allow both sexes to access all restrooms, locker rooms, dormitories/sleeping quarters, and probably sports teams, represents a leftist assault on student privacy. But the attack is much broader than that, actually targeting fundamental realities on which human civilization is based.
Rather than write a book on that subject, let’s focus on one strand that should especially disturb parents: The guidance is yet another in a long series of attacks on parental authority concerning the care and education of their children.
We reported a while back on the growing “achievement gap” between black and white students in Kentucky, which was the first state to hop on board the Common Core Express and therefore the bellwether for the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the national standards. Now even the Hechinger Report, a propaganda outlet known best for its pro-Common Core exposés and its funding by foundations that embrace Common Core and all things progressive, has noticed the problem in Kentucky.
This may be the first time in history a government project is ahead of schedule. George Orwell wrote in 1984 that the State-created language of Newspeak would be implemented in the nation of Oceana by 2050. But here it is only 2016, and in its effort to erase sex differences in schools, the Obama administration has already made an excellent start in imposing its Newspeak code.
“The purpose of Newspeak,” Orwell wrote, “was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc [English socialism], but to make all other modes of thought impossible.
A letter is going out today from Emperor Obama’s henchman at the Departments of “Education” and “Justice,” implicitly threatening public schools with loss of federal funding if they protect private restrooms and locker rooms for schoolchildren.
The ideologues have no legal basis for this decree. The Constitution doesn’t allow it. Nor does Title IX of the Civil Rights Act (the fragile peg on which they hang this coal of mail), which prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of “sex” but not “gender identity.” The vast weight of legal authority is clear on this. Continue Reading
Much has been written about the dangers of the proposed Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA), especially the bill’s extension of student data-collection to socioemotional data. But parents should realize the broader privacy problems with government-sponsored education “research.”
Student data-privacy is supposedly protected on the federal level by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In 2012, however, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) gutted FERPA via Obama administration regulation.
Progressive educrats tell us that the onset of the 21st century changes everything about how we educate children. What worked for little boys named Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill is now passe. In its place must be installed sophisticated technological systems for “personalized learning,” which will transform education. It’s becoming clear, though, that the new orthodoxy comes with major drawbacks, so much so that even High Priest of Education Technology Bill Gates finds it necessary to concede a few problems and give the congregation a pep talk.
If the GOP-led Congress had not done enough damage to public education by passing the statist Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it’s poised to make things even worse. The new threat is the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA). If SETRA passes in its current form, the federal government will be empowered to expand psychological profiling of our children. Parents must understand this threat so they can mobilize to stop it.
In 2002, the Bush administration started incentivizing states to create massive databases of personal student and family information. The Obama administration – aided and abetted by a roll-over Congress — threw that effort into overdrive. It did so through, among other efforts, the 2009 Stimulus Bill and its Race to the Top grants. And through unauthorized regulatory changes, it stripped away vital privacy protections. (For details see the Pioneer Institute paper Cogs in the Machine.)
But now citizens are taking notice and are alarmed at these threats to their children’s privacy.
As to the discussion of education in last night’s debate, John Kasich demonstrated why he is in last place. For their parts, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump could have hit home runs but instead merely hit doubles.
Common Core and the federal role in education have been major topics in the GOP nomination battle. They tie into another driving force in this election cycle—the visceral citizen push back against a political establishment that responds to special interests rather than to the people. Continue Reading
Now that Iowa caucus-goers have spoken, lost in the discussion of Donald Trump’s underperformance, Ted Cruz’s ground game and Marco Rubio’s surge is an acknowledgement of one issue that separated the top Iowa finishers from (as Trump would say) the “losers.” That issue is Common Core.
Cruz and Rubio have long been on record as opposing the national standards. Trump has relentlessly raised the issue ever since he entered the race. Continue Reading