Beverly Eakman, a former Justice Department Employee and now an author and lecturer, presented a Power Point presentation on the history of how Common Core got started in the U.S. Department of Education in the late 1970s, and how a policy paper written over 20 years ago turned into the national program we know today as "Common Core".
"Data Mining began in the last place anyone would have suspected: In our nation's education system," she said.
Her presentation focused primarily on the data collection aspect of Common Core.
Supporters of Common Core say the data collection is a tool which can help teachers get an understanding of their students and help them find the best ways to educate students.
Opponents, like Eakman, believe the private companies running the data collection will use it for marketing products and services to children and their parents, with the assistance of the government, and the government can use it to track students even after they leave school.
To prove her point, Eakman showed a sample of the 712 data points the schools would collect on students to identify them. One example given was the religion of the student. There were dozens of codes for each major and minor religion.
"Do you think the average teacher would know the different between an Episcopalian, a Nazarene, and a Calvinist Christian? Eakman asked the audience.
"These data points aren't for teachers; they are for government bureaucrats."
The general concern was that part of the Common Core cirriculum was going to require not only students, but parents and grandparents, to answer personal questions in order to better "assess" the child's learning.
"Why do they need to know when a father first holds his child? Do they intend to send social workers to the father's home if they don't like the answer given?"
She asked rhetorically.
Sam Friedman is the Communications Director of the Caesar Rodney Institute in Dover. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cesar Rodney Institute