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Former US Secretary of Education, John King, now leads The Education Trust. It should come as no surprise that Ed Trust is feverishly tweeting, and tweeting and tweeting –urging people to save John King’s and the US Department of Education’s Rule which asserts more federal control on how states should handle ESSA Testing Participation and Accountability.   See some of Ed Trust’s recent tweets here:

 

The Education Trust would have you believe that testing means teaching and forcing every child to take the test, or else, is a so-called civil right. Try telling that to parents of PROFICIENT  third graders in Florida whose parents opted them out of a non-valid, high stakes end of year test. Even though those children had better than passing grades (as in A students) they were held back, not able to go onto fourth grade because they didn’t take this ONE test.    How’s that for Civil Rights?    Whose rights are they protecting when they force the use of a data profiling, never seen, never proven, and expensive test?

The Education Trust is in the business of testing reform and “achievement” in education.  It’s a big business.  Blogger and teacher Mercedes Schneider wrote about Ed Trust in this 2015 Huffington Post piece,

“Education Trust was founded by Katherine “Kati” Haycock in the 1990s. The organization was granted nonprofit status in 1997. Haycock advocates for “closing achievement gaps” via test-driven reform. She is a longtime supporter of test-driven, “100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014″ No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (also see here and here and here and here).

In fact, Haycock’s Ed Trust was involved in writing NCLB.

Between September 2004 and March 2014, the Gates Foundation has paid Education Trust $30.7 million for “general operating support.”

Total Gates funding to Education Trust as of January 2015 is $49.1 million.

Furthermore, Education Trust is the “parent” nonprofit to Data Quality Campaign,* which received $1.3 million from Gates for “general operating support” in November 2012 and a total of $13 million between 2008 and 2013. Ed Trust is also nonprofit “parent” to the US Education Delivery Institute, which Gates paid $3.2 million in start-up money in April 2010 “implement plans to increase college readiness and post secondary completion rates nationally”- language that sure sounds like payment for CCSS implementation in anticipation of the June 2010 “official” CCSS launch. US Ed Delivery Institute has received a total of $9.1 million from Gates between 2010 and 2013.”

[*as an aside, if you aren’t familiar with how EdTrust and Data Quality Campaign launched the campaign for commonly tagged standards, SLDS data bases in every state, please see this 2009 press release from Data Quality Campaign.]

 

We urge Congress to Vote YES on House Resolution 57 and Senate Resolution 25 which simply repeal the US Department of Education’s over reaching Rule on ESSA testing accountability.  (Here is contact information for your Congressional Representatives or Senators.  It’s easy!!)   *Update on HJR57: HJR57 Passed US Senate on March 9, 2017. This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of Education on November 29, 2016, relating to accountability and state plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. This bill was already passed by the House, now on its way to be signed by President. Then USDoE will issue NEW guidance/Rule. **The big question** Will Secretary DeVos and President Trump punish schools and children who have less than 95%  test participation– or will USDoE respect parent opt out?

While you’re at it, Fix FERPA and HIPPA loopholes

We further ask that citizens and Congress urge President Trump and new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to overturn and repeal the 2011 Rule change that weakened FERPA. The 2011 change allows for personal information about a student, everything in their education record, to be shared outside of school, without parent permission.  FERPA needs to be re-instated to pre-2011 changes and then we need to address the fact that FERPA doesn’t protect against online data collectionHIPPA doesn’t protect medical or mental health information in a student’s education recordAddress these issues NOW.   Protect children.

Cheri Kiesecker

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