Data mining is a huge concern in our educational system. While so many of us, especially here at “Prevent Common Core“, have been fighting the illegal education standards, Washington, D.C. has been busy passing legislation that will make it easier to data mine our students. Of course this is done with our tax money. How much? The price of a cup of coffee. Want to know more?! Read on….
The FCC, a bit of background:
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has been around since the mid 1930s and is an independent arm of the U.S. Federal Government. Responsible for regulating communications in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. Regulation is mandatory. The FCC reports to Congress. FCC has 6 goals it oversees daily: broadband (being able to access the internet, use technology), competition (means you can choose who you receive communications services from), spectrum (means you have access to non-governmental radio frequencies), media (all sources must be in the process of modernizing communication while being competitive and diverse in services offered), public safety and homeland security (means airwaves, communication available for emergencies), and lastly, the FCC is in charge of its own makeover so all stakeholders can be satisfied.
The President appoints those who serve in the FCC, while the Senate must confirm each candidate. Want more history about them? Click here.
Back in 1996, a mandate by Congress gave us the ‘E-Rate’, which is the federal government’s largest educational tool in the technology arena. The full name of the program is “Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries”. The FCC is in charge of this mandated program. Basically what it means is that schools and libraries get great internet/technology access at a discounted rate. Funding for this? Oh, that’s the ‘Universal Service Fund’ (USF) Where does that money come from? We, the citizens! Ever look at your phone bill and wonder what some of those fees were for? Well, USF is one of them! The group which hands out the USF money is USAC (a non-profit which the FCC designated to oversee the Fund.) They have a straight-forward FAQ page that will help you understand a bit better what the USF does, at least it did for me.
Back in 2010, the FCC began to update the E-Rate (which is also about the time Common Core really hit the nation) because ‘learning is changing’. If you read their website pages about the E-Rate, you’ll notice some of the same tones as we’ve heard with other areas of education being impacted by Common Core. Buzzwords like ‘robust’, ‘everyone connected’, ‘preparing students for the global economy’, and on and on. The E-Rate envisioned and capable of ’21st Century readiness’ will be paid for by such a slight increase in our phone bills, it’s about the cost of a cup of coffee..not SO bad, BUT..consider this.. IF the goal was to simply make sure schools/libraries are connected that would be one thing, however, as with anything connected to schools these days there’s so much the FCC isn’t telling you! FCC modern plan.
Here’s an excerpt from the PDF:
“Over the last 17 years, the E-rate program has helped to ensure that our nation’s schools and
libraries are connected to the digital world. At the same time, we acknowledge and embrace our
responsibility to make sure the program evolves as the needs of schools and libraries evolve. In
particular, the E-rate program must evolve to focus on providing support for the high-speed broadband
that schools need to take advantage of bandwidth-intensive digital learning technologies and that libraries
need to provide their patrons with high-speed access to the Internet on mobile devices as well as desktops.
Access to high-speed broadband is crucial to improving educational experiences and expanding
opportunities for all of our nation’s students, teachers, parents and communities.
The record clearly demonstrates the power of high-speed broadband connectivity to
transform learning. High-speed broadband, to and within schools, connects students to cutting-edge
learning tools in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, necessary for preparing them to compete in the global economy. High-speed broadband also creates opportunities for
customized learning, by giving our students and their teachers access to interactive content, and to
assessments and analytics that provide students, their teachers, and their parents real-time information
about student performance while allowing for seamless engagement between home and school…Broadband at libraries is also crucial for students studying for and taking
their General Educational Development (GED) tests and allows students to take and study for college and
Broadband at libraries enables patrons to seek and apply for jobs; learn new
skills; interact with federal, state, local, and Tribal government agencies; search for health-care and other
crucial information; make well-informed purchasing decisions…”
Why This is a Big Deal that Connects to Common Core
In no particular order of importance, the following reasons WITH credible links for your files are given:
1) GED is now owned by Pearson Publishing and has been aligned to the Common Core Standards – Restore GED Fairness
2) Community colleges are post-secondary schools which deliver college level work as well as job training. See how Common Core is implemented in these schools.
3) Workforce Training (job skills and seeking them are not only in Common Core alignment, but the WIOA 2014, Career Pathways, and more) – Bringing The Divide
STEM is part of Common Core! That’s no myth. They are connected in more ways than most folks are willing to admit. Common Core Diva is my full time blog where you’ll find the report that proves the connections. See:
Chromebooks, Common Core, SBAC, and PARCC.
Each and every one of these digital technology links will lead you back to Common Core, STEM, assessments, and of course, massive data mining.
Where E-Rate legislation is Right Now:
In a program called ConnectEd which is a White House Common Core Initiative (notice the big Common Core supporters like Microsoft, Verizon, and others.) You’ll also want to look at the press release detailing the over $2 billion pledged for all this connecting, data mining right under our noses.
Data mining resources:
- Student Longitudinal Data System
- Workforce Data Quality Initiative “Enable workforce data to be matched with education data to ultimately create longitudinal data systems with individual-level information beginning with pre-kindergarten through post-secondary schooling all the way through entry and sustained participation in the workforce and employment services system.” Please go here for more information about Common Core and the connection with our countries work force.
- How the Student Data is manipulated to form an American Workforce –
And all for about the price of a cup of coffee!
Comments, questions, suggestions? Yes, we NEED to have a discussion about this. We need to stop the E-Rate!
Edited by Mark Hare