Active support of an idea or cause etc.; especially the act of pleading or arguing for something!

Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dear Governor Herbert,

When you begin considering new state board positions please consider tha amount of or lack of knowledge on behalf of the candidate in question. Right now our board members for the most part do not understand that they are there to serve the public, and most specifically their constituents. Currently, I do not know of even one board member who responds to emails, research’s constituent concerns, and believes that they are there to serve. Now, there are several who do one of those things, but not one of them have I seen that is capable of all of those things I listed above.

In order for the system to work properly and for the needs of Utah’s children to be met, we must have an impartial board, who is willing to listen and carry out their duties.

Information was presented to each board member, the superintendent and associate superintendent and several others in regards to rules that they would be violating in implementing laws that have been passed. In the info (sent via email by many parents) the board was so sure that they were doing the right thing, that they told constituents:

“Which proposed board action that we “will be voting on” are you referring to? I’m not aware of anything on our agenda about changing FERPA.” Tami Pyfer

or

“Thank you for your email. It appears that there has been some misunderstanding regarding possible action to be taken by the State Board of Education this Friday. The Board is not looking at any changes to FERPA – we do not have the power or authority to change FERPA law.

The Board members I’ve spoken with feel strongly about protecting students’ privacy. Unfortunately, the Legislature has passed legislation requiring classroom level student performance data be made public. As is always the case with bills passed by the Legislature, the State Board of Education is required to make “rules” that conform to the Legislature’s intent. The rule we are reviewing on Friday is our attempt to comply with legislation (as we are required to do) while still protecting student data. If you take the time to read through the rule I believe you’ll find we are earnest in the desire to protect students’ privacy.

If you have concerns about releasing student data, I would recommend that you contact your legislator.” Tami Pyfer

After realizing that they can copy/paste but cannot do their own research before voting on any one given agenda item, I and several others went to work on figuring out why we were not getting through to the board members and how we could help them understand that they were not protecting our children’s privacy nor did they clearly understand what they were voting for or against.

Once I knew that I was going to have to completely spell it out for them, I and a few others worked to get the board members a CLEAR and precise detail of what was wrong.

This is the letter I sent to them (as well as had Lorraine Austin enter into the record):

Dear Board Members,

I wrote to many of you in regards to my concerns about the changes you are making to Utah’s FERPA (I called it this because USOE employee’s have stated on numerous occasions that this is what it is known by). My concern is over the new wording that you have listed in lines 34-40.

I have done a great deal of research and from what I take away from the UERPA and from the federal FERPA is that we need to be more specific in the wording we use.

Points:

#1 – Explicitly define “Student Information” – What is the information?
#2 – Explicitly define “Education Records” -What is the record?
#3 – Be explicit about what is being protected.
#4 – Be explicit about how it is being protected.

“UERPA” uses the word “student information” and the federal FERPA uses the term “education record”. Essentially what we have now uses these terms interchangeably, when they should not be. There should be a differentiation between the two terms, i.e.: student information = directory information, education record = aggregate information. The issue I see here is that we need to be able to share aggregate information, allow parents to opt out of directory information, and keep students personally identifiable information private and protected.

I would be happy to discuss the issues that I see with making these two terms mean  the same thing and how we can change them to better protect our children/students.

Thank you!

Anissa Wardell

From this email I hoped they would understand what they clearly had not understood earlier.

I found out later, that they still did not understand and that Gayle Ruzicka in their work meeting had to explain state and federal FERPA laws to them and how they were in conflict.I watched from home the whole day, and after they decided not to move on that part, but rather to involve legislators I sent them a thank you email and yet again received ridiculous emails from two board members. See my thank you letter and their responses below.

My letter:

Thank you very much Board and committee members! As parents we want to work with you and want you to know that although emotion gets in the way a fair amount, many of us really are doing our research and want to help. It is my goal to do what I can to help when I can, which I believe is the goal of local and state boards to involve the parents.

Thank you for taking the letters that we sent as parents and listening to our concerns. I want to personally thank you for taking the time to read the information and consider what I found was conflicting and concerning.

Anissa Wardell

Board responses:

“I’m not sure I understand your reference–I don’t believe you fully understand the action we took but thanks for the compliment, anyway.” Leslie Castle

OR this comment,

“I don’t believe you understand the action taken by the Board today. It was not action on federal FERPA laws.  I am hesitant to try and explain this action and pertinent issues to you further, given the fact that I took the time to email additional information to the first 3 or 4 dozen people who emailed me about this issue earlier this week, and was subsequently accused of “ trying to diminish the issue we raised” by someone on your group’s listserv. I am puzzled at how providing people references to state code containing conflicting mandates on providing/protecting student data could be considered “diminishing the issue,” when, in fact, it’s an area where I believe most parents would have grave concerns… if they better understood the issue.

Perhaps you can spend additional time reviewing the audio recording of today’s meeting (which will be posted in the next day or two) and get answers to your question – if desired – from someone on the Board who served on this subcommittee.” Tami Pyfer

Governor Herbert, this is just one instance where parents have tried to help the state board members and have been told that we were wrong. I know that these individuals (the board members) cannot be all knowing, however, they were put in these board positions to serve their constituents for the greater good. We need board members who will take the time to evaluate and research all the matters that are placed before them and to be transparent and look out for our children.

Please do YOUR PART and either allow Utah citizens to vote for our own board members or choose board members based on their educated wisdom and humility.

Thank you,

Anissa Wardell

At last Friday’s state board meeting, the board realized something they hadn’t known during this past week when they were responding to everyone who emailed in about the FERPA stuff. They didn’t know there are separate federal FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) laws and state FERPA laws that contradict each other in some areas (even though at least one board member was in the legislature when the Utah FERPA bill passed and the USOE has published an in-service brochure solely about this Utah Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Anissa Wardell sent the below letter to the board this morning, and then at the meeting, Gayle Ruzicka was present and able to help them understand some of the differences between these conflicting laws. After Gayle’s explanation to the board, Board President Debra Roberts then made a motion to form a committee with legislators and work on the relevant conflicts in the law and ensure we get this resolved.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in last week to help raise this issue’s awareness. Hopefully things will be properly resolved now that the board understands that there is indeed a conflict.

Anissa’s letter:

Dear Board Members,

I wrote to many of you in regards to my concerns about the changes you are making to Utah’s FERPA (I called it this because USOE employees have stated on numerous occasions that this is what it is known by). My concern is over the new wording that you have listed in lines 34-40.

I have done a great deal of research and from what I take away from the UERPA and from the federal FERPA is that we need to be more specific in the wording we use.

Points:

#1 – Explicitly define “Student Information” – What is the information?
#2 – Explicitly define “Education Records” -What is the record?
#3 – Be explicit about what is being protected.
#4 – Be explicit about how it is being protected.

“UERPA” uses the word “student information” and the federal FERPA uses the term “education record”. Essentially what we have now uses these terms interchangeably, when they should not be. There should be a differentiation between the two terms, i.e.: student information = directory information, education record = aggregate information. The issue I see here is that we need to be able to share aggregate information, allow parents to opt out of directory information, and keep students personally identifiable information private and protected.

I would be happy to discuss the issues that I see with making these two terms mean the same thing and how we can change them to better protect our children/students.

Thank you!

Anissa Wardell

Here is the link to changes being made by the State School Board  The following are the ones that are of the great est concern, especially those in yellow highlights. http://schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda/docs/Tab4C.aspx

The definition below of student information opens up a huge can  of worms or in legal terms a loophole.

34 G. “Student information” means materials, information,

1

35 records and knowledge that an LEA possesses or maintains, or

36 both, about individual students. Student information is

37 broader than student records and may include information or

38 knowledge that school employees possess or learn in the course

39 of their duties.

40 [D]G. “Student record” means a record in any form,

41 including handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio

42 tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche, that is directly

43 related to a student and maintained by an educational agency

44 or institution or by a party acting for an agency or

45 institution. Student records shall be maintained by LEAs

46 consistent with 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g.

We are getting back emails from the State School Board saying that they had to do this because of legislation.  We need to let Kour legislators know that this legislation passed is now affecting privacy.

Specifically, Utah Futures bill which collects and shares data all over the place.  Here is the link to that bill.  Line 79 includes behavior      http://le.utah.gov/~2012/bills/static/SB0290.html.  There are other bills as well that call for the sharing of data.

Thank you for your email. It appears that there has been some misunderstanding regarding possible action to be taken by the State Board of Education this Friday. The Board is not looking at any changes to FERPA – we do not have the power or authority to change FERPA law.

The Board members I’ve spoken with feel strongly about protecting students’ privacy. Unfortunately, the Legislature has passed legislation requiring classroom level student performance data be made public. As is always the case with bills passed by the Legislature, the State Board of Education is required to make “rules” that conform to the Legislature’s intent. The rule we are reviewing on Friday is our attempt to comply with legislation (as we are required to do) while still protecting student data. If you take the time to read through the rule I believe you’ll find we are earnest in the desire to protect students’ privacy.

If you have concerns about releasing student data, I would recommend that you contact your legislator.

 

Thanks

Tami Pyfer

Pearson Publishing Stands to make millions of dollars off of our children’s education. In fact, they have already been making millions of dollars. I believe there is a place for business in education, however, when secret combinations come together to high-jack education we need to seriously reconsider funding them at all.

Sir Michael Barber is the Chief Education Advisor at Pearson PLC. He’s an outspoken Common Core and global common standards promoter. I’ve watched his speeches on YouTube this week and have attached links to these seminars and interviews below.

While some on the Utah State School Board have said that “Utah can get out of Common Core anytime we like,” Sir Michael Barber emphasizes an aim of “irreversible reform.”

“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents,” Barber says.

He says this is important to avoid parents or traditionalists who might repeal progressive reforms because of a “wish for the past.”

He defines “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and aims to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.” I find this creepy.

At last month’s British Education Summit, Barber gave a speech entitled “Whole System Revolution” in which he taught principles from his book, “Deliverology 101″.

http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

John Seddon, British management guru and president of Vanguard, has a series entitled “Why Deliverology Made Things Worse in the UK.” (“Deliverology 101,” Barber’s book, was written specifically for American education reform.)

“I don’t go around the world bashing Deliverology, but I think I should,” said Seddon, who defines Barber’s “deliverology” as “a top-down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.” http://youtu.be/2sIFvpRilSc

Seddon says “deliverology” imposes arbitrary targets that damage morale.

But in Barber’s view, top-down education reform is necessary, a “global phenomenon,” no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries; education reform has “no more frontiers, no more barriers,” he said at the August summit on education.

http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Barber showed a chart during his summit speech, displayed at 12:06 minutes, which he calls a goal of “whole system revolution,” pinpointed as the sum of the following addends: systemic innovation + sameness of standards + structure + human capital.

Sir Michael Barber said: “We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda.” (6:05) He specifies that “every child” means every “global citizen.”

http://youtu.be/ltAeLXUCqaQ.

In another clip, Barber praises Common Core (CC) at a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) interview.

In yet another interview –also with the CFR– Barber says, “Can I congratulate the CFR for getting into this issue? I think it’s great to see education as an issue of national security and foreign policy as well as economic and domestic policy.”http://castroller.com/Podcasts/InsideCfrEvents/2695637

But as we all know, under the U.S. Constitution, education in the U.S. is to be state-led, not a federal or internationally-determined, issue.

Then there’s the BBC interview. http://youtu.be/vTYMFzOv0wQ

In this clip, on the BBC show Hardtalk, Barber outlines the benefits of “private and public partnership.” http://www.un.org/partnerships/unfip_partner.html)

Pearson “invests,” says Barber, by purchasing cheap schools in developing countries in partnership with governments.

Pearson works hand in hand with both nongovernmental agencies (NGA and CCSSO) and with governmental agencies (U.S. Department of Education) to promote global education and Common Core. Because he sees global control of education and U.S. Common Core as one and the same.

Evidence of the push toward ultimate loss of control over local education? Look at 6:05 on http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA–the August Summit speech.

Barber says that every person in every country should have exactly the same definitionof what it “means to be good at maths”.

At 4:00 he says that “citizens of the world” including every single child, “all 9 billion people who will be alive in 2050″ must know E(K+T+L) –which stands for (Knowledge + Thinking + Leadership) multiplied by “ethical underpinnings.”

Then Barber explains that the “ethical underpinning” is “shared understanding” of earth and “sustainability” that every child in every school around the world will learn. Ethics, to Barber, have nothing to do with individual liberty, the Constitution, or the Golden Rule. It’s about the global collective.

Pearson is very successful in selling Common Core curriculum, online assessments, teacher professional development, and technological resources nationwide. http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS11Uz

Common Core is very big business. The Wall Street Journal quotes Pearson’s CEO on Common Core as a financial goldmine:

“‘It’s a really big deal,’ says Peter Cohen, CEO of Pearson’s K-12 division, Pearson School. ‘The Common Core standards are affecting literally every part of the business we’re involved in.’” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303674004577434430304060586.html

When the BBC interviewer accused Sir Barber of leading Pearson to take over nations’ sovereign educational systems, Barber said, as a defense, “I worked for government. I love government. I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”

Advising governments from the U.S. to Pakistan on how to implement nationalized education is Barber/Pearson’s specialty.

As the UK Guardian writes:

“…Barber and his graphs have gone global. As McKinsey’s hubristically titled “head of global education practice”, he has set up a US Education Delivery Unit (albeit as a private sector rather than government venture), co-authored books that claim to identify what makes national education systems successful, and taken the joint chairmanship of a taskforce in Pakistan to establish “national standards” in basic subjects. Now he’s becoming chief education adviser to Pearson, owner of Penguin Books and the Financial Times and also, in its own description, “the world’s leading learning company“, with interests in 70 countries…”http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/14/michael-barber-education-guru

Pearson has long been partnered with Achieve Inc., which is alarming because Achieve, Inc. happens to be a co-author of Barber’s “Deliverology 101″ andAchieve also happens to partner “with NGA and CCSSO on the [Common Core] Initiative, and a number of Achieve staff and consultants served on the [Common Core] writing and review teams,” in Achieve’s own words. http://www.achieve.org/achieving-common-core

These incestuous combinations of NGOs, the Pearson company, and the Federal Government, appear to literally be taking over educational decision-making.

I want to thank Christel Swasey for her in depth research and for the time it took her to put the info in  concise and easy to read manner.

 

Footnote:
Most Pearson consumer publishing is done by the Penguin Group, which includes international imprints such as Allen Lane, Avery, Berkley Books, Dial, Dutton, Dorling Kindersley, Grosset & Dunlap, Hamish Hamilton, Ladybird, Plume, Puffin, Penguin, Putnam, Michael Joseph, Riverhead, Rough Guides, and Viking.

Utah State Board of EducationThe State School Board decided to table the issue of FERPA until this month as they wanted to review information on it. Our Wasatch County School District Superintendent was at the State School Board testifying about our local FERPA policy. Wasatch local school board had changed our policy so that it had no protection in the spring, but thanks to great participation of residents and emails from many citizens, the policy was changed again and strengthened. Thanks to Renee Braddy for gathering information, teaching citizens and leading this charge.

Since that time, people who have talked directly to the US Department of Ed, verifying the fact that the new FERPA policy does not protect, but in fact loosens, the restrictions so more data can be collected without our knowledge. If you would like to learn more about it directly from the US Dept. of Ed. You can call this number and ask for Ellen Campbell in their FERPA policy division. 1-800-872-5327.

What we need to do now is to write the State School Board Members and ask them to leave our current State FERPA policy in place. We have a good State Policy. PLEASE NOTE – the new federal policy is VOLUNTARY.

You will be told that it is not, but you can verify that for yourself by calling the number above. Superintendent Larry Shumway responded in an email to Renee Braddy that it was truly voluntary. James Judd, Student Service Director, Wasatch County, stated publicly that indeed this policy does loosen the protections.

Be firm but polite. Remember that emails that are not too long don’t get read.

STATE SCHOOL BOARD -Board@schools.utah.gov This will reach every member of the school board.

In case you need some ideas, I have pasted my letter to the board below.

Dear Board Member,

I am greatly concerned that as members of the Utah State School Board you will be voting on whether or not to change the FERPA laws that should protect my children. I am worried because I do not think many of you understand how dangerous the Federal changes are, how much information is already in the works to be collected and distributed, and parents will not have the ability to opt out of data sharing.

I know that many of you have expressed concern and stated that you are aware of what these changes entail and that you feel that Utah does a good job of protecting student data. Many of you have also stated that the info that is collected is aggregate and that it is not personal. Current procedures as far as I know, would make your beliefs and statements correct with the caveat that there is a new bill that was introduced from Senator Aaron Osmond that is now in effect called the Utah Futures bill. On line 79 of this bill it states:

(d) allow the Department of Workforce Services to analyze and report on student user interests, education paths, and behaviors within the education system so as to predictively determine appropriate career and educational outcomes and results; and

{find the pdf version of the bill here: http://le.utah.gov/~2012/bills/sbillenr/sb0290.pdf}

Essentially, the Utah legislature and USOE has just proven that student data is not protected and that they will track our children not only through any state program, public preschool, elementary, junior high & high school, college or any higher ed, but now will follow them through the department of workforce services. The information collected will be used to determine appropriate education? Who gets to determine that? The government? The data collected will include grades, salaries, behavior, interests, etc. Whereas the FERPA rules that the State Office of Education follows may be okay for now, who is to say that the future board or employees of USOE will be as careful with our children’s private information?

The changes you are considering in regards to FERPA have already been deemed questionably legal, federal FERPA regulatory changes.

Why do I say “questionably legal federal changes?”

Congress made the original FERPA law many years ago to protect citizen privacy. But recently, the Department of Education overstepped its authority in making regulatory changes to FERPA. Regulations are not as binding as law. But the regulatory changes are being seen by some as federal mandates.

We are not communist China. We live in America and have entrusted you to help educate and protect our children, not take over their so-called outcomes. Students Educational Data Security & Privacy

Please protect our children’s private data by not loosening the rules or policies of FERPA.

Anissa Wardell