Saturday, March 9, 2013

From the horses' mouths: SB 110 moves toward vouchers; SB 133, SB 82, and SB 257 are designed to gather all Utah students' data in one place and allow national vendors free access

SB 110 School-Based Budgeting

During the Senate Education Committee hearing, Stephenson says, "I believe we could empower school communities to actually take charge of their budgets."

Lisa Snell of the libertarian think tank, the Reason Foundation, says "This is not a new program. It’s not a crazy idea,"

Later, Stephenson says, "I’m fighting disinformation – they’re saying this is some kind of voucher bill, and it’s got nothing to do with vouchers.”

Then Lisa Snell, co-author of Reason Foundation's Annual Privatization Report,  says on March 5th "student-based budgeting or backpack funding is both all about vouchers AND part of a movement toward a totally new public education system.
"The growth of student-based budgeting in school districts and a few states mirrors a national trend toward more decentralized school funding where the money follows the child. In the United States, we are in a transition period, moving from funding institutions to funding students. K-12 education funding is moving closer to the funding model for higher education, where the money follows students to the public, private or nonprofit school of their choice."  (Underline and bold text mine)

SB 82 Student Achievement Backpack and SB 257 Personalized Educator Evaluation Technology with SB 133 School Performance Report Amendments as an enabler making sure all of the data, every student's test score in every classroom of more than 10 students, is legally accessible.

In the Senate Education Committee, Jerry Stevenson says about SB 82 ""It adds transparency to what our education system is doing,"

Judi Park of the State Office of Education says, ""It's going to be much more costly than what the fiscal note would suggest."

Howard Stephenson says, ""I just support this bill 100 percent, and I think what we're hearing in opposition to it are excuses for not wanting parents to receive this information," he said. "Parents have a right to all the information in the most easily accessible way."  So it's all about the parents and their rights.

I say, "Every parent in every district in the state can log into a website and see their student's grades, test scores, records, etc.  This unnecessary bill,SB 82, is a transparent ploy for some other goal."

Just before the South by Southwest (SXWE) educational technology conference this week, educational technology salesman and advocate, and friend and presenter at Parents For Choice in Education conferences, Tom Vander Ark, says,
The Ed-Fi solution extracts student information from a variety of educational data systems, and then standardizes, integrates and communicates it to educators and other parties through Web-based dashboards, reports and other applications.  Ten states license the Ed-Fi solution directly and four additional states benefit from partnerships with inBloom, which uses Ed-Fi XML interchanges to support states’ and districts’ adoption of personalized learning tools....

Digital Learning Now! created a 10 element state policy framework that embraces the potential of digital learning–all 10 elements rely on a great longitudinal data system.  DLN is releasing a Smart Series paper every month on critical digital learning topics.  The second paper Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles detailed next steps for states. 

 States should:
Adopt the Ed-Fi standards and join the Ed-Fi Alliance.

District and school leaders should:
 Encourage your state to adopt the Ed-Fi solution to ease transfer of gradebook data and use of common dashboards and reporting tools.
Work with a vendor on a super gradebook and expanded learner profile.
 (underlining mine)
So Ed-Fi = inBloom = massive database of student data for vendors.
SB 82 = "super gradebook" necessary to "ease transfer of gradebook data" to Ed-Fi/inBloom

During SXSW, Tom Vander Ark says,
Data is Beautiful.  inBloom is everywhere at SXSW with briefings, receptions, and parties. Along with the subtler Ed-Fi Alliance launch, data plumbing, policies and tools are all the rage in Austin.
 Marketing as education policy...

The paper mentioned above, Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles, outlines the goals and connected programs of this "Big Data" (their words) push.

To paraphrase the paper: It's hard to see your student's records with fees and forms.  [Is this true anywhere in the US in 2013?] Data is in a "patchwork" of systems. [That's an obvious buzzword of the paper. Turn it around and say "States and districts have insisted on autonomy when choosing data and grading programs.]

To quote from pgs 5-6:

"This expanded Learner Profile
must represent a holistic view of the
student’s unique learning preferences,
such as his or her best learning modality
(such as, “does the student learn best
through visual representations in some
cases and with hands-on learning in
others?”) and learning environment
(such as, “does the student perform
better in small-group or whole-class

Next-generation digital
tools, services, platforms, and systems
now give us the opportunity to collect
and classify information down to the
individual keystrokes of comparable
students in parallel situations.
(Underline mine)

Pg. 2 and 12: Make a new official transcript called the student backpack, specifically to enable the data (the uncomfortably specific data detailed above) to be shared with the inBloom database and mined by vendors.

Pg. 11 sidebar: BloomBoard is the designated "personal teacher professional development plan" program  SB 257 designed to be compatible with the new super gradebook SB 82.

The dots have been connected.  I half apologize to Common core conspiracy theorists.  You got part of the scheme right; you just missed who was perpetrating it.  Bill Gates and a bunch of unethical education technology profiteers want to eliminate student privacy and destroy neighborhood schools in order to enable a voucher system that funnels money to the best advertisers. 

Howard Stephenson, Stuart Adams, and Parents for Choice in Education shill for legislation in behalf of these national organizations who do not care what the majority of Utah parents want for our children.  Their words talk about "students, not systems," but their actions show that their motive is just to force students into a different system meant to exploit them for the profits of connected individuals and companies.

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