Wakeup Call 09-03-2017

We had Lynn Taylor, known as “Common Core Diva,” as a special guest.  Lynn lives in Mooresville (near Charlotte), North Carolina.  She spent 23 years homeschooling her children, and the last one graduated in 2015.  Lynn is admired and respected by Kim Fink, CCTA’s Public Education Committee Chairman for several years as we fought Common Core in Raleigh, and Kim was on last night’s panel, too.  (As were Bob and Mary Griswold, Diane Rufino, and Hal and I.)

Rick introduced the program by saying we were going to talk about technology in the classroom, and he mentioned the fact that Craven County is leasing I-Pads for all its students and teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade, and said the quick reaction of a lot of people will be, “That’s good,” but is it really?  Perhaps there’s another side to it.

Rick asked Hal to give a little background about what Craven County is doing, and Hal did so.  He mentioned something really odd about the process at the Board of Commissioners’ meeting.  The lease costs almost

$1 million dollars per year, but neither the presenter nor any of the commissioners mentioned the cost of the lease.  (Hal knew the amount because the lease itself was among the pre-meeting items posted on the county’s website.)

Lynn added that in 2015, North Carolina increased funds for digital learning with the intention of using the digital mode for learning and for assessments.  In addition, ESSA (Every Child Succeeds Act) provides federal funds for digital learning which the states must compete for. Part of that is to provide money to get wi-fi into the home of each student so that he or she can have access 24/7.

Rick asked Lynn to comment on an article called “Technology: Poison in the Classroom.”

Lynn said there is a move to have technology start in pre-school (from almost when a child is born), and then to kindergarten and on up.  Lynn says that stunts brain development!  (Most of us had heard an early childhood development specialist testify before the Academic Standards Review Commission who spend an hour or so saying the same thing.)

Lynn said that another problem is the massive amount of data that is being stored from youngest student years through joining the workforce via the use of technology, and she mentioned that Apple has the largest data storage east of the Mississippi here in NC.

Rick asked Lynn if what’s going on in education here and what’s going on in the UN have any relationship.  She said they are related, and the key to understanding it are the notions of “collectivism” and “sustainability,” and goals built around the idea of being “green.”  The idea that “technology saves trees,” and “we can’t be one big happy world if we’re not all connected digitally.”  NC has been among the first to hook up to global efforts for education, and NC data is being shared pretty globally; schools share with state agencies, federal agencies, approved vendors, researchers, and more.  Lynn also says FERPA (the “family protection” law) has been gutted by an Executive Order by President Obama.  And she pointed out that data can be collected (without permission) in students’ homes by their school provided devices.  (Is it 1984 yet?)

Lynn was asked why educators seem to be on board with all of this, and she discussed that aspect, but also added that some recent education major graduates are miserably unhappy because they are not encouraged to innovate, but are instructed to “teach to the test.”  She added that there is a huge corporate lobby spending huge sums of money to influence federal and state laws relating to education.  And Lynn said that “psychological intervention systems” are being used in schools, and teachers are having to handle it themselves; psychologists are not being hired.

Lynn says that homeschooling and private schools are going to be dealing with all the things that are going on in traditional public schools that are problematic very soon.  She was asked, “Why???”  She said that one of the ways is by the use of assessments.  She said she had fought and fought to keep the definition of homeschooling as it had been in NC. She said previously homeschooling had 100% freedom, but not so now.  She said it was a conscious effort to “blur the line” between homeschools and “traditional” public education.

Lynn says that ESSA says that “all education must be aligned to one set of standards,” and each student (homeschoolers as well) has a “unique identifier number,” and with nationally normed assessments and that unique identifier, parents can be convinced that their child is “going to be left behind.”

The bright spot in all of this is that there is a campaign going on to get President Trump to resend President Obama’s Executive Order and restore FERPA.  To find out more about this work, parents are advised to go to childabuseintheclassroom.com (child abuse in the classroom).  Lynn advises parents who care about their children to pay attention to that and to pay attention to what’s going on in their child’s school!

To share more of Common Core Diva’s wit, wisdom, and knowledge, go to www.commoncorediva.wordpress.com

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