Glenn Beck and Kyle Olson’s new book, “Conform,” is about Common Core specifically, the state of public education in America more generally, and how to improve our system going forward with a set of practical, market-based reforms. In Chapter 16, Glenn and Kyle address the notion put forth by Common Core proponents that "we need better data collection to help us better educate our kids."
My favorite character on Seinfeld, Cosmo Kramer, once wondered, "Why does Radio Shack ask for your phone number when you buy batteries?"
Who knows. But perhaps more importantly we might wonder why schools need to collect some 400 bits of data on students, including things that have nothing to do with education, like family income range, religious affiliation, number of hours worked per weekend and even medical laboratory procedure results.
(Image Source: greenbookblog.org)
A group of New York superintendents, school board members and other school officials said the massive amount of data collection "serves no real purpose and seems like an unnecessary risk to students' privacy."
Then why do it? In a single word: control.
With a large amount of data, the controllists can pigeonhole our kids into post-graduate options that best meet the controllists’ desires.
"The Pearson company, one of Common Core’s key advocates, produced a promotional video that hints at what the future of education could look like once the standards and the technology are all in place. In the video, a mother is seen reviewing her son’s academic progress, while on the side of the screen is her son’s "career projection" and "college projection." It’s touching to see the mother nearly tear up when she sees that her son’s on track to become a mechanical engineer."
Is that what the student wants to do with his life, or is that merely what the corporation’s algorithm tabulated, which could have factored in a potential shortage of mechanical engineers? It all just has such a Soviet flavor to it.
Screenshot from a Pearson Common Core promotional video. (Image Source: Youtube)
But who am I to think critically when there’s data to be gathered and cogs in the corporate wheel to be filled?
Conservatives rightly point out the incompetence of the bureaucracy.
Even one of the most ardent proponents of Common Core, Jeb Bush, is a skeptic of the government system.
"We can’t just outsource public education to bureaucracies and public education unions and hope for the best," he said in a speech, in reference to charter schools.
And yet he is comfortable with forcing students and parents to hand over social security numbers, behavioral information and medical procedure results to the bureaucracy?
What a man-made disaster that is going to be. Just consider what has happened so far, and the bureaucrats haven’t even been collecting it for very long.
Last year, a Minnesota legislative auditor discovered the state’s education department’s "mammoth computer systems … lacked ‘adequate internal controls’ and comprehensive security plans," and that bureaucrats had "failed to document where private (student) data was held or the internal controls to secure it," according to EAGnews.
[sharequote align="center"]Kids are sitting ducks for hackers, and trust me, the bureaucrats will just shrug their shoulders[/sharequote]
These kids are sitting ducks for hackers, and trust me, the bureaucrats will just shrug their shoulders when it happens. They’ll probably blame a lack of funding, too.
Or consider the incompetence of administrators in Chicago Public Schools. It was reported in December 2013 that the medical information of about 2,000 students was posted on the school’s website. It had been there since the summer and no bureaucrat had realized it.
"Oops, sorry," we’ll hear.
"Conform" details another disturbing story:
"Last fall, a teenage hacker was arrested and charged with felony computer trespass after he allegedly "accessed and downloaded the records of thousands in 2012 and 2013." The hacker allegedly posted the information, which "included student identification numbers and information on free lunch plans," to online message boards."
He also posted the names of students who received "instructional services in an alternative setting."
"Whoops, guess our security wasn’t good enough," they’ll tell us.
But instead of concluding that government schools don’t have the proper security and personnel to handle such sensitive information, progressives like Bill Gates, Arne Duncan and Jeb Bush forge ahead into their brave new world of collecting the data to use to decide what the future holds for our children. Even if they don’t care about helping plan the economy, they will personally profit politically and/or economically from developing such a system.
But despite the strength of these interests, parents are making headway.
In New York, the fierce backlash caused politicians to pull the plug on the inBloom database, which was funded by Gates’s foundation.
That’s a victory, but as we’ve seen with the Common Core rebranding campaign around the country, the data collection effort will likely be rebranded, too. Progressives don’t surrender in their war on personal liberty willingly – it’s an incremental campaign of control and we must fight them every step of the way.
That’s why parents cannot relent in their effort to root Common Core and its tentacles out of education.
Feature Photo Credit: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
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