The Common Core Report Card: Rick Perry Gets a B

In our Common Core report card, we graded Rick Perry and all of the GOP candidates based on the three following criteria: fighting the Common Core, protecting state and local decision-making on education, and defending child and family privacy. Then we averaged the three grades together for one final grade.

What does each grade mean?

A … Champions the issue, e.g., offers legislation, makes it a centerpiece issue. … Professes support, but has not provided leadership or otherwise championed it. C … Has neither helped nor hurt the cause. D … Has an overall negative record on the issue. F … Robustly and consistently works against the issue.

So how did Rick Perry do?

Ending the Common Core System: A+ Protecting State and Local Decision Making: A- Protecting Child and Family Privacy: D

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Overall Grade: B

Gov. Rick Perry is one of the few candidates, declared or prospective, who has opposed the Common Core from the outset. As Governor, Rick Perry signed HB 462, which effectively banned the Common Core from being adopted in Texas. As far back as 2010, Perry refused to participate in the Race to the Top stampede, stating:

[W]e would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education. If Washington were truly concerned about funding education with solutions that match local challenges, they would make the money available to states with no strings attached.

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The Common Core Report Card: Bobby Jindal Gets a B+

In our Common Core report card, we graded Bobby Jindal and all of the GOP candidates based on the three following criteria: fighting the Common Core, protecting state and local decision-making on education, and defending child and family privacy. Then we averaged the three grades together for one final grade.

What does each grade mean?

A … Champions the issue, e.g., offers legislation, makes it a centerpiece issue. … Professes support, but has not provided leadership or otherwise championed it. C … Has neither helped nor hurt the cause. D … Has an overall negative record on the issue. F … Robustly and consistently works against the issue.

So how did Bobby Jindal do?

Ending the Common Core System: B+ Protecting State and Local Decision Making: B+ Protecting Child and Family Privacy: A-

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Overall Grade: B+

Like many governors, Gov. Bobby Jindal was initially in favor of the Common Core Standards. However, more recently, Jindal has made the repeal of the Standards a key issue. Jindal has gone on record with his assertion that “[t]he federal government has hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative.” (Of course, the idea that the Standards were ever truly in the hands of the states is a myth.) Back in February, Jindal released a 42-page plan on Education. That plan addresses many education issues and is notable, in several respects, to the Common Core issues. In it, Jindal raises the quality of the Common Core, something that most presidential candidates assiduously avoid.

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The Common Core Report Card: Rand Paul Gets an A-

In our Common Core report card, we graded Rand Paul and all of the GOP candidates based on the three following criteria: fighting the Common Core, protecting state and local decision-making on education, and defending child and family privacy. Then we averaged the three grades together for one final grade.

What does each grade mean?

A … Champions the issue, e.g., offers legislation, makes it a centerpiece issue. … Professes support, but has not provided leadership or otherwise championed it. C … Has neither helped nor hurt the cause. D … Has an overall negative record on the issue. F … Robustly and consistently works against the issue.

So how did Rand Paul do?

Ending the Common Core System: A- Protecting State and Local Decision Making: A Protecting Child and Family Privacy: B+

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Overall Grade: A-

Sen. Rand Paul supported Senator Grassley’s effort to defund the Common Core in 2013 and 2014. He co-signed a letter penned by Senator Chuck Grassley to the chair and vice- chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education that called for language to be included prohibiting the use of federal funding to promote the Common Core, ending the federal government’s involvement in the Common Core testing consortium and preventing USED from rescinding a state’s No Child Left Behind waiver if it repealed Common Core. Sens. Paul and Cruz are the only senatorial candidates for president who co-signed Grassley’s letter.

Paul has paid more attention to the Common Core issue than most other candidates and has spoken forcefully against it.

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ThePulse2016 Report Card: Common Core

Four years ago, Common Core was considered a “done deal,” uncontroversial and approved by Democrats and Republican leaders alike. It had been pushed into 45 states without notice to legislators and parents alike. Today, Common Core and related educational issues of local control of schools and family privacy have emerged as significant campaign issues for candidates and for a motivated network of grassroots citizens-turned activists.

ThePulse2016.com (a project of American Principles in Action) and New Hampshire’s Cornerstone Action are releasing our first formal report card to voters on how GOP candidates are doing in responding to the concerns of Common Core parents and the experts who have validated their concerns. We have carefully evaluated the candidates on three separate—but related—issues:

1.) Have they spoken out and acted against Common Core?

Statements opposing Common Core must acknowledge that the standards are of low-quality, fail to meet the expectations of high-performing countries, and contain language that controls the curriculum and instructional methods used in the classroom. Recognition of these deficiencies is central in determining whether a candidate’s actions have been a sincere effort to replace the Common Core with high standards or to simply rebrand it under another name.

2.) Do they understand and have they made a specific commitment to protect state and local control of education from further federal intrusion?

In particular, we are looking for candidates who understand how the federal government intrudes onto state decision-making and who advocate for structural changes to prevent such intrusions. Moreover, the candidate must understand that the intended division of power between the federal government and the state is meant to ensure that people can shape state and local policies.

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Every Child Achieves Act Is Bad News for Students, Teachers

From The Daily Caller:

Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Every Child Achieves Act, which recently passed the Senate, is brimming with troubling provisions. One that has received little attention is the grant program called “Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizons,” or I-TECH. States that apply for I-TECH grants (and most states are all too eager for “free” federal money) will be hastening the day when teachers are replaced by technology, and children’s minds are mapped in the name of “personalized learning.”

The purpose of the I-TECH program is to ensure that “all students have access to personalized, rigorous learning experiences that are supported through technology” and that teachers and administrators are trained to integrate this technology-based training. Sec. 5701(2)-(4). Access for all students will require funding for “technological capacity, infrastructure, and technical support,” especially for rural schools that otherwise might resort to relying on teachers and books.

The term “personalized learning” is superficially appealing. But parents who think that means the teacher will spend more time helping their child should think again. Personalized learning in the ECAA sense operates with interactive digital platforms of the type that give the student a prompt, record and analyze his response, use it to generate another prompt, and so forth. Think Pavlov. The extraordinarily sophisticated software used in these platforms analyzes not what the student knows in terms of academic content, but rather how his mind works. This is “personalization.”

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Corporations Push Fake Student Privacy Protections

When Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Luke Messer (R-IN) announced the introduction of a “comprehensive” student policy bill, millions of parents hoped it would mark the end of the cradle-to-grave data mining that has characterized Washington’s education policy.  Sadly, we ended up with the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, a flawed bill that fails to prevent the collection of personal data by government and, just as worryingly, corporations.

While some parts of this bill, such as clauses allowing parents to access and remove some of their children’s data, are welcome changes, other parts of the bill allow companies increased access to student information, as well as the rights to share or sell it.  APIA’s Jane Robbins spells out some of these shortcomings:

Parents across the country are demanding legislation that restores and strengthens the protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and prevents private entities from exploiting their children’s personal data,” Robbins said. “The Polis/Messer bill does neither. While it contains some welcome privacy protections, it leaves unimpeded such egregious practices as psychological data-mining in the name of ‘personalized learning’, third-party use of personal data for undefined ‘K-12 purposes’, and the exploitation of children’s personal data for the benefit of the vendor.

“Psychological data mining” so that educational companies can better target their products is not what parents had in mind when they asked for better privacy protections.  Reps. Polis and Messer deserve credit for acknowledging the concerns of parental rights activists, but their bill needs serious changes if it’s going to address the data mining that prompted it in the first place. Continue Reading

Student “Privacy” Bill Needs Immediate Rewrite

The proposed Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act to be introduced by Rep. Luke Messer (R-Indiana) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) is ineffective and needs to be rewritten with the students’ interests in mind.

This bill puts corporate interests first and student privacy last. This isn’t a student privacy bill, it’s a license to divulge student data. Under this bill, parents will be unable to opt out of having their children’s data collected, and large, international corporations will have free reign to use the data how they see fit, even if that means disclosing it to unknown recipients without parental permission.

The so-called ‘protections’ in place are too vague and create loopholes that weaken privacy law further. We need to protect student privacy, and this bill doesn’t do that. It’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Emmett McGroarty is the executive director of APIA Education. Continue Reading