"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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Monday, January 31, 2011

Look at What the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor Want to Know About Your Public Education Student

We posted previously on the Longitudinal Data Systems (LDS) being implemented as an integral part of the common core standards and Race to the Top, and Kathy Wilmot's presentation on the ramifications of this system.

We noted LDS is a nationwide data system to note and share information between federal agencies and states on student intellectual and personal development. What type of information will be shared? Here's the list of the information gathered on each student from the Education Data Model. Please link on the list so you can see for yourself how many data questions may be required from your student to answer. 351 data attributes are being entered on your student's record to share with other states, educational and research institutions and federal agencies.

What type of attributes do the Department of Education, Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services want to know about your student?

These agencies want to know information such as dental prosthetics, family income, gestational age at birth, number of teeth, weight, weight at birth....and on and on. Some of these questions pertain to educational concerns, but is much of this data pertinent for educational reasons?

Much of this information may not be so pertinent for educational experience, but rather important to know in channeling students to certain positions in the workforce or profiling your student for perhaps other reasons. This one is stunning and I can't figure out why the government believes it is necessary to know about your student:

Voting Status

Source: Handbooks
An indication as to whether an individual is registered to vote in public elections.

Code Set:

  • Registered - N/A
  • Not registered - N/A
  • Not eligible to vote - N/A

Is this the type of information you believe should be shared across federal agencies? What is the purpose of such a question? This information is a private decision by a citizen whether he/she is registered to vote...or not. Oh, by the way, this is another set of data shared about your child:

Overall Health Status

Source: Handbooks
The state of a child''s physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Code Set:

  • Very good - N/A
  • Excellent - N/A
  • Fair - N/A
  • Poor - N/A
  • Good - N/A
If you are a parent of an adolescent or have survived that stage with your child, you might agree with me these can be turbulent years due to hormones. Who decides on the "state of a child's physical, mental, and social well-being?" The parents? The school counselor? Data can be entered on the student's personality traits. Why is that? Does this information being shared with the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services profile a student in his/her future endeavors?

We'll talk tomorrow about a software company providing LDS services for one state in an educational consortium and how it refers to your human capital (student) and what is expected of that human capital. This all ties in with Ms. Wilmot's presentation.

It's important to understand how much information will be gathered on human capital in the quest for educational reform and entry into the workforce. Just what does your child's oral condition, eye color and information on family income (including ALL income streams) have to do with providing education to your child?

Oral Soft Tissue Condition

Source: Handbooks
The condition of the tongue, lips, palate, floor of mouth, and inner cheeks.

Code Set:

  • Normal tissue - Tissues appear healthy.
  • Mild tissue deviation - Tissues have slight bleeding and/or enlargement.
  • Moderate tissue deviation - Tissues exhibit a lesion of small size (e.g., a cold sore or cold blister) which has persisted for fewer than 10 days.
  • Severe tissue deviation - Tissues exhibit an obvious lesion (e.g., an ulcer or new growth) which has persisted for more than 10 days.

Eye Color

Source: Handbooks
The color that best describes an individual's eyes.

Code Set:

Family Income Range

Source: Handbooks
The category which best represents the total combined income during the past 12 months of all members of the family who share financial responsibility in a household. This includes money from jobs, net income from business, farm or rent, pensions, dividends, interest, social security payments and any other money income received by members of the family.

Code Set:

  • $0-2,999 - N/A
  • $3,000 to 5,999 - N/A
  • $6,000 to 8,999 - N/A
  • $9,000 to 11,999 - N/A
  • $12,000 to 14,999 - N/A
  • + 10 More Codes...

Why haven't we heard from legislators and civil rights agencies protesting the invasion of privacy? Why is the government obtaining this information on our children from birth for "educational purposes"?

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