Karen R. Effrem, MD – President, Education Liberty Watch
Emmett McGroarty, director of education at the American Principles Project testified at the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP) about the highly dangerous idea of creating a longitudinal higher education/workforce database. This plan would lift the ban on this concept currently in federal law. The proposal is being pushed by Florida Senator Marc Rubio in a bill called The Know Before You Go Act, the concerns about which we have discussed before.
Here is the testimony starting at 2:4548 (Thanks to Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education)
Mr. McGroarty gave excellent testimony, as usual, and covered many critical points, especially about how this database would make students/employees subservient to and intimidated by the government, flipping the arrangement put in place by our Founders. The commissioners in their questioning tried to minimize his concerns saying that it would only involve higher education students and would not involve social emotional or “soft” or 21st century skills that is such a concern in pre-K to 12 as we have covered elsewhere. McGroarty held firm and said that these are issues no matter what the grade level of the individual and that the federal government has no constitutional authority to be gathering all of this data on individuals.
We also know that the commissioners arguments were straw man arguments. Corporations and foundations are already very interested in gathering this fuzzy, subjective SEL data on our kids as evidenced by the efforts of the Gates Foundation and the Business Roundtable. And we know that USED has long spoken of wanting to have linkable data on everyone from pre-K through the workforce, so there is no reason that this college workforce would not be eventually be linked to the pre-K through 12 data they are putting together through the state longitudinal database systems.
Here are some additional thought to be added to Mr. McGroarty’s always great testimony on this topic taken from Education Liberty Watch’s response to the March US House Education and Workforce hearing on education research and data collection:
We believe that student privacy and parental consent should always be considered pre-eminent compared to the research desires of the government or private sector, especially in the realm of psychological profiling.
The government has no constitutional, statutory, or moral right to collect data, especially highly personal and sensitive socioemotional data on our children.
According to data presented to this committee by the Cato Institute several years ago, federal involvement in education has yielded either stagnant or declining academic performance:
The vast majority of federal education programs are unconstitutional because the entire US Department of Education is unconstitutional, meaning that most of these programs should be eliminated with any remaining that can be shown to be effective and constitutional programs being block granted to the states.
Many studies showing the ineffectiveness and or harm of current government education and child social programs and the effectiveness of two parent family structure and other non-government academic and social measures are ignored raising the question of why we need so much research in the first place. This includes early childhood and home visiting programs.
We have an opportunity to submit comments to this commission on this and other data privacy related issues by November 14th! Please participate. You may use information from Emmett McGroarty’s testimony, this post and other sources like the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. Please do not let the federal government create lifelong dossiers on us and our children!
This article was originally published on the Education Liberty Watch website and is re-posted here with the author’s permission.
For a copy of the hearing agenda and written statements click here.