"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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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Teacher Advises Students of their Constitutional Rights. He Now Faces Possible Disciplinary Action.

A teacher is in trouble after advising students of their Constitutional rights before they were to complete a school survey.  From the dailyherald.com:

A Batavia High School (Illinois) teacher's fans are rallying to support him as he faces possible discipline for advising students of their Constitutional rights before taking a school survey on their behavior.

Students and parents have praised his ability to interest reluctant students in history and current affairs.

But John Dryden said he's not the point. He wants people to focus on the issue he raised: Whether school officials considered that students could incriminate themselves with their answers to the survey that included questions about drug and alcohol use.

Dryden, a social studies teacher, told some of his students April 18 that they had a 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves by answering questions on the survey, which had each student's name printed on it.

The survey is part of measuring how students meet the social-emotional learning standards set by the state. It is the first year Batavia has administered such a survey.

Here is information about the social-emotional learning standards set by Illinois from Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership:

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is defined as ”the process through which children enhance their ability to integrate thinking, feeling, and behaving to achieve important life tasks. Those competent in SEL are able to recognize and manage their emotions, establish healthy relationships, set positive goals, meet personal and social needs, and make responsible and ethical decisions. (Elias et al, 1997; Payton et al, 2000.)  Considered within a traditional school context, SEL underscores the necessity to attend to a child’s social and emotional development in order to maximize that child’s opportunity to succeed in school. The research is clear that SEL has a significantly positive impact on children’s attitudes, behaviors and school performance

In 2003, Illinois’ state government passed the Children’s Mental Health Act, which legislated that all school districts create policies that address children’s social and emotional development; and that the State Board of Education (ISBE) develop social and emotional learning standards and mandate their implementation in all public schools. With this Act, Illinois became the first state to recognize – through legislation – the importance of social and emotional development to children’s ability to achieve academic success. 

The SEL Standards were created and approved in 2005.  Two years later the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP) joined with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority (IVPA) to begin implementing the statewide (Social and Emotional Learning) SEL Standards Professional Development Project (Project), through two grant programs. With this funding, a statewide Cadre of professionals was developed to train and work with school districts to implement the Standards.

Batavia bought its mental health survey from Multi-Health Systems which declined to give a copy for review.  You can review a survey given to high school students by the Center of Disease Control to many schools around the country here which asks questions on drug, alcohol and tobacco use, as does the one from Multi-Health Systems: 

The (Multi-Health) survey asked about drug, alcohol and tobacco use, and emotions, according to Brad Newkirk, chief academic officer.

The results were to be reviewed by school officials, including social workers, counselors and psychologists.

The survey was not a diagnostic tool, but a "screener" to figure out which students might need specific help, Newkirk said.

Do you know what else the Illinois State Board of Education is part of?  The ISBE is a partner of the Illinois Data Warehouse System (ILDS).  ILDS has data elements ready to be implemented and collected data will be supplied by schools to ILDS.  These data sets will be able to be used in other states when data sharing is allowed across state lines.  This can be done because of the adoption and implementation of Common Core standards.  They can be shared as the standards (academic and otherwise) are commonly coded for easy tracking.  From the Illinois Longitudinal Data System Project:

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), along with our Education Partners, is now actively moving forward with the design and development of the state-wide Illinois Longitudinal Data System (ILDS).  The system, when fully deployed, will provide data to help to track the outcomes of Illinois students as they progress from Pre-K through Postsecondary education, and as they enter the workforce.  Longitudinal data supports an in-depth, comprehensive view of students’ progress and will ultimately help guide policymakers on where to invest time and energy to most effectively improve student achievement in our State.
The ILDS is defined by Public Act 96-0107 and enabled through federal funding, and instructs the State Board of Education to link student test scores, length of enrollment and graduation records over time.  The system also will connect students to career planning and resources, with the potential to facilitate the application process for financial aid and records for transfer students.

ILDS will serve a large stakeholder group, including:
·         Illinois State Board of Education
·         Local Education Authorities
·         Regional offices of education and intermediate service centers
·         Parents and other members of the general public
·         State Legislatures
·         News media
·         Research organizations
·         Postsecondary Institutions
·         State workforce and higher education agencies
·         Education Partners

Do you think your state will create its own unique data retrieval standards set or will it align its data standards to Illinois?  Common core is the necessary element in implementing data sharing.  Data sharing requires commonly coded data sets which will enable the ILDS to capture and track student information.  Here is the tie in with Common Core standards, the data set from the National Education Data Model and the two assessment consortia which includes the other states tying into the ILDS (page 8):

This Reform Agenda is aligned with a national Reform Agenda that builds off No Child Left Behind, national Common Core academic standards, National Education Data Model (NEDM) and Common Data Standards (CDS), two national Assessment Consortia, and a new national network of next generation learning environments.

The ILDS document details its purpose on tracking students for supplying the workforce.  From http://www.isbe.net/ILDS/pdf/ildsdac_meeting_120810_1.pdf:

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.


What sort of data does it require?  Here's a partial list showing the expansion of aggregate data into personal and individual data for its needed elements (beginning on page 36):


Collect attitudes toward debt acquisition
Collect sources used, if any, for information on applying to and paying for college
Collect media used in student's household (newspapers, TV, cable, radio, internet, etc)
Collect unique student identifier  

Collect remedial coursework taken in postsecondary programs
Collect number of hours students worked each week
Collect whether students live on or off-campus or with their parents
Collect number of credit cards and average total balance
Collect information on the need to work while in college
Collect hours enrolled in college

What data do we have that our expenditure for student support personnel are making a difference in attitude, behaviors, and achievement of students K-12? (How do you measure the success of open houses?  Other parent involvement programs?? How are nurses, counselors, etc., being used?

What data do we have that the expenditures for teacher assistants/paraprofessionals are making a difference in student achievement?

What data do we have that expenditures for arts, music and PE are making a difference in academic achievement?


Behavior and attitude tracking information is necessary for the ILDS to gather for completing student data sets.  Now you might understand why the school was a bit upset with John Dryden informing his students supplying this information might not be constitutional and impinged on their 5th Amendment rights.  The school doesn't worry about constitutional rights.  It's worried about the data gathering for the data system as mandated by Common Core state standards. 


  1. Students have been doing surveys for decades without any identifying information on them. Now with them being on computers they will be linked to individual students and could very well be used against them at any time. They may as well stop taking surveys because one kids know the information will connect to them, they will never be honest and incriminate themselves. So these surveys will not be usable information.

  2. Clearly, if you can't track data about student attitude and behavior you can't effective change that attitude or behavior. Lab rats, anyone?

  3. This kind of crap has already gone too far as most school authorities see themselves as gods who can dictate anything anytime anywhere and summarily punish students, faculty, staff, and minor administrators for what they do and which Principals and Boards disapprove. I've seen this before when a man I know took his son out of school for deer season and when he went back to school and showed his friends the pictures of him with his buck, he got suspended. Unless a student is involved in commission of a felony, what he does on his own time on public property or elsewhere is none of their business. But these control freaks believe that our children are inmates until they are out of Their classrooms and treat them as such. But I doubt the school administrators care overmuch about sex drugs and booze when they are really worried that a boy might become a Real Man, shoot guns, smoke cigarettes instead of weed, or overeat.

  4. Beware Common Core is like a cancer and it is spreading everywhere. Government is dangling funds in front of school systems to get them on board. Pretense is to help the "children" to better lives. Open your eyes it is a back door indoctrination...teach them early that, they must answer the governments questions when ever asked. Teach them early the government is here to help you. Teach them early that guidelines and standards are set by government, even if they contrast with your own moral values. Social engineering kicked up a notch.


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