Common Core with it’s other federally mandated reforms does not improve education in Idaho. It is about increasing federal oversight, commonality among students and states, and extensive testing. All fueled by a federally mandated data base.
Statewide Data System. Idaho, to meet the requirements of several federal mandates and grants, has significantly changed the way we collect, store, and share data in Idaho. We have received over 28million dollars to design and build our current system to very specific federal requirements. Our current Idaho system now collects several points of personal student-level information to track children from pre-school to workforce and beyond. All of this data tracking is now available to researchers, another federal requirement. We must share and link student-level data on an ongoing basis with the Federal Government. It is illegal for the Federal Government to have a national data base of students. To get around this law they required each state, in exchange for stimulus and grant money, to develop an extensive data collection and sharing system. The federal government can use all the information, they just cannot store it. In light of all that is happening with the IRS and other agencies, do we really want our children’s personal information released in this way? Why can all of this happen without parents knowing? The Department of Education made drastic changes to the FERPA law. This is the law that required a parent’s consent to release any personal data about their child. This law was changed removing the parental consent portion, and also redefining what type of information was allowed to be collected. This whole system was illegal prior to these rule changes. All legal barriers protecting private student records have been removed and replaced with mandates to store, share and track students.
Untested standards. These are untried, untested, standards written behind closed doors by authors who openly speak about how they intend to use these standards to “dramatically shift” education. Idaho does not own these standards we cannot not alter or amend these standards. These standards are the only standards developed that met the specific federal requirements and timeline agreed to when Idaho’s governor accepted the educational reform package attached to stimulus funds in 2009. Idaho’s colleges signed an agreement stating anyone graduating with a Common Core diploma would be ready to enter college without remedial work. This agreement was signed before the standards were completed.
New assessments. The assessment requirements were another mandate of the stimulus funds and further agreements, grants and waivers agreed to and signed by Governor Otter and Superintendent Luna. Idaho was required to join a consortium, Idaho joined one of two possible Consortia that met the federal requirement. Both Consortiums have received huge amounts of federal funds solely for developing assessment tests aligned to the Common Core. The agreement Superintendent Luna signed gives the final approval of all consortium functions to a program officer an employee of the U.S. Department of Education. Idaho has only one vote on this Consortia, and have signed an agreement “committing to using the assessment system or program developed by the Consortium.” Idaho no longer controls the test by which Idaho students, teachers, and schools will be held accountable. The tests are much more involved and expensive to administer and grade then the previous ISAT. None of these costs are covered by Federal funding the added expense will be shouldered by Idaho taxpayers. If the Dramatic shift the standards and tests are creating are not what we want for our children we will have to contend with a consortium of states under the direction of the Federal Government. Parents we will have lost our ability to affect change.