fight back

They *hit* you by tracking family data and determining if you are an *effective* parent

The educational wars are just beginning.  As more and more parents understand that ESSA will not restore local control, as individual freedom is eradicated in the classroom and invasive data tracking is confirmed, the battles will increase and hopefully, more parents will remove their children from this federal educational program.

Some parents (and I am sympathetic) state they have no choice but to keep their children in public education.  I wonder if some of the parents will now find a way to home school or provide different alternatives now that the Federal Government wants to visit your home to data track whether you are an appropriate parent…or not.  From Curmudgucation and the DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO THE EARLY GRADES:

family engagement


Peter Greene explains in his blog what’s wrong with this invasive Federal overreach masquerading as educational concerns vs managing people:


Gallery of the Obvious 

We kick things off with some over views. First, there’s an overview of the research ranging from the ridiculously obvious (“warm, responsive and sensitive parenting promotes social-emotional competence and academic success”) to the poorly reasoned (we know there’s a connection between reading to children and later vocabulary and success, but we get confused about correlation and causation) to blindingly obvious information that we often ignore in our other policies (growing up in poverty and unstable families makes learning hard).

We recap policies like Head Start and IDEA and ESEA that recognize some of this engagement stuff. Because bureaucracies have no sense of irony, we will not note that the USED has done its best to completely trash IDEA.

We will also fuzzy up the language by mixing up engagement with families and engagement within families.

Then we’ll reach a conclusion that despite the obvious importance of family and stuff, “family engagement is not equally valued or implemented across the early childhood and elementary systems.” Because passive voice is a great way to avoid explaining exactly what you’re talking about/ Who is not valuing family engagement? That would probably be useful to know if we’re going to fix the problem, but it remains a mystery.


Greene goes on to explain how this draft proposal will dictate to states and local districts to gather data on families of students in public schools:

State-level Stuff

The plan goes on to delineate what state and local authorities should do.

On the state level, recommendations include investing and allocating resources and training to get programs all engagey. Plus establishing policies that help. Plus “communicate constant messages” aka drop some PR bombs on the issue.Because “messaging” is almost as important as actually doing something. Also, make sure that colleges and universities are training people to do this stuff.

Pretty pedestrian stuff. But then there’s this recommendation.

Develop and integrate family engagement indicators into existing data systems 

They offer a couple of suggestions of where such data might be found, like child care quality rating systems, higher education coursework, and family surveys, so, no– they don’t have any idea how to measure these things they say they want to measure.

And they would like states to set up an incentive to reward folks for doing this stuff that we don’t know how to measure the effectiveness of, though it does look like they might be willing to go old school and measure inputs, whether those programs reap identifiable results or not.

Local Stuff

The plan has recommendations for local establishments as well. These run a bit more specific than the others, and come closer-but-no-cigar to crucial elements missing so far.

The devil, as always, is in the details. “Families as Decision Makers” is an encouraging heading, but it’s followed by “Schools and programs should establish policies that ensure parents and families are prepared to participate in planning, decision-making and oversight groups.” So families can have a seat at the table if they show us they’re ready to do it the right way.

Some of the recommendations will be familiar as Things Many Districts Already Do, such as home visits. That also includes local versions of the same things featured elsewhere in the report. That includes the data fetish. Look– here’s a detail that’s not scary at all.

Local schools and programs should track progress on family engagement goals, as detailed in family engagement plans.

So, you know– the feds would like families to think of them as another family member. Maybe an older, wiser, brother. Honestly– does anybody ever read these documents and think about how they look to civilians?


You can pull your children out of this system immediately and make your comment on this Orwellian governmental intrusion in public education by January 4, 2016.  Be part of the historical record and Rage Against the Machine:

Most importantly

Remember what I said waaaayyy back at the beginning– this document is open to comment until January 4th. If reading all this just gave you a huge headache, zip on over there and comment. Who knows– maybe Acting Pretend Secretary of Education John King might send it back to the drawing board. At least you will have helped generate some data.

Here is the link you can use to email the USDOEd and HHS your thoughts on these ‘family engagement’ policies.  COMMENTS DUE BY JANUARY 4, 2016:






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