It’s Open Season On Conservatives—and Children

Poster_Common_Core_FIstThe IRS Scandal that targeted individuals and organizations for their political views, inappropriately using government-collected data, has put parents on alert across the country. Schools, believe it or not, have been collecting private information regarding your kids including retina scans, fingerprints and facial features via surveillance cameras. And as the IRS abuse has shown, data in the hands on unaccountable bureaucrats ends up a dangerous weapon.

Common Core Standards, the super sized, fed-funded policy baited with a toy inside and aimed at nationalizing education into a lock-step one-size-fits-all-approach, also comes with a side order of invasion of privacy. Under Common Core schools are already collecting a range of 60-400 data points of private information regarding each child.

And if they haven’t started yet on your child, just wait: Data collection on children ages P-20 is coming to a state near you. And “P” stands for prenatal- not preschool. Apparently the administration that won’t count a fetus as human because that would be an invasion of a mother’s “privacy,” has no such concern over privacy or when life begins if federal control of education is involved.

Polk County School District in Florida, for example, just confirmed that they were conducting iris scans on students without parental permission. A letter was sent to parents informing them that their child “was selected to participate in a student safety pilot” that is provided by a vendor using image scans of the iris.

One wonders if they meant plot rather than pilot.

“Worst case scenario, what are you afraid of?” asked Missouri Democrat Margo McNeill, a member of the House Elementary and secondary Education Committee on during a hearing of SB 210.  To some of us, that sounded eerily close to Hillary Clinton’s tin-eared benediction over Benghazi: “What difference does it make?”

SB 210 would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to hold public meetings regarding Common Core funding and help spell it out to politicians like McNeill.

But here‘s the short version: Parents are worried about leakage and abuse of their children’s private information.

Information such as race, gender, level of education of both parents, but also questions tied with mental health screening -multiple choice answer options such as “If something can go wrong for me, it usually will,” or “I hardly ever expect things to go my way”- are now the common fare of Common Core.

I think I speak for everyone that matters- kids, parents and teachers- when I ask “Why do we want public schools to continue to play social-worker rather than teach?”

There are already plenty government programs conducting social work. Whether or not those programs are doing a good job is a whole different issue and one not to be solved by education professionals.

Thankfully the numbers are increasing of vocal, active parents who are concerned about these practices and the risks that are being taken with our children.

I cannot stress enough the importance of parental involvement, beyond the bake-sales. It is parents, not politicians, who make the most effective advocates for what is right- or wrong- for our children’s education.

Look to Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle, two Indiana moms, started Hoosiers Against Common Core, and successfully advocated led the charge for a change in their state. Indiana just became the first state to call a “time-out” on common core, much thanks to these two moms.

In Kansas Kristin George who says she is “just a mom,” started a Facebook page called Kansans Against Common Core, and ended up advocating to #stopcommoncore with other parents in her state legislature. Kansas Lawmakers narrowly voted down legislation that would have defunded Common Core in that state with a 55-58 vote.

Then there are the Missouri, momma watchdogs Gretchen Logue and Ann Gassel, who advocated to snooze common core in their state. Although it didn’t pass this year, their group is gearing up to educate the public for upcoming elections and future legislative sessions.

That’s not a defeat, folks. That’s one heck of a start in opposing the political machine that is rolling out uniform nationalized education standards with little other resistance. Don’t think for a second that’s the last you will hear from these parents, or thousands others as they and many others are organizing around the country.

As both a parent, and the executive director for Parent Led Reform, I passionately believe that parental engagement in education policy is the key to solving education. We work across the nation projecting parental power into education reform. Parent Led Reform is not a think tank. We are an action tank.

In the past month we have used social media to connect activists through Facebook and #stopcommoncore Twitter Rallies reaching more than 9.7 million Twitter users. We are thrilled to have connected with an incredible number of amazing parents and organizations along the way.

So to my fellow parents I say:  Keep attending PTA meetings, school board meetings and volunteer in the classrooms.

But don’t forget that many decisions are made at state and national levels, and parents, our astute attention and active involvement is involved there is more important than ever. You can influence laws. You can run for office. And you can make a significant difference, not just for your child, but millions of children.

Join one of the already existing groups, or start a Parent Led Reform in your area.

Because it should be known, that just like the IRS we too have lists. But ours is not for sale, and it is of thousands and thousands of parents across the country who have signed up voluntarily, fed up and ready to join the battle to preserve our parental rights and our children’s privacy.

And when parents take education back home, to its rightful place, we will finally fix education in America.

Karin Piper

Colorado PolitiChick Karin Piper is an award winning author and transparency expert specializing in education and union transparency. She provides policy tools necessary for parents, union memberis, teachers and decision makers to become informed consumers in the educational marketplace. She also serves as executive director of ParentledReform.org, an organization she helped found, and works with various other non-partisan likeminded organizations. Karin was a finalist for OGI's 2012 Burke-Carr Public Interest Awards and nominated as candidate for Charter School Friend of the Year in 2009. Her knowledge of state and federal open records laws and tireless advocacy for open union negotiations has been featured by major media outlets across the nation. Her debut book, CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents, was awarded a 2009 finalist in best books for parenting and education, by USA Book News and appeared in bookstores around the world. Born and raised in Sweden, she lives in Douglas County, Colorado, the epicenter of education reform. Karin is a frequently sought as a parental voice and expert opinion in response to much of today's political edu-rhetoric and legislation proposals. She has been interviewed by many news outlets, including CBS, NBC, KNUS, EdNews, Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, and many others.

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