We have national healthcare and national curriculum standards. If our Republican-led Congress has its way, we will soon have another unconstitutional national program – a federal student database.
For years those who want to establish social control have advocated for a centralized government database to track and link student data across agencies.
Under the Bush administration in 2005 there was a push to create a national student database. Advocates argued that collecting data at the federal level is the only way to get an accurate view of postsecondary education. They were defeated by those concerned about privacy – private colleges and Congressional Republicans – and the 2008 Act was passed which banned a national database of personally identifiable information on individual students including any system to track them over time, such as a unit database.
Next the Obama administration tried to establish a federal unit database. They, too, failed but the administration offered money to states to construct their own state longitudinal databases (SLDS). Now all 50 states have longitudinal databases to track students throughout their educational careers.
For several years concern has been mounting over massive student debt, creating questions about the value of a college education. Congressional hearings have been held to discuss data, transparency and accountability in higher education, particularly the effectiveness of the Pell Grant and student loans.
There is a renewed effort underway to lift the ban on a national student database with Republican establishment politicians joining leftist thinkers in their zeal to collect ever more data for centralized government planning,
In March 2016, bipartisan legislation created the Commission for Evidence-Based Policymaking to develop “recommendations for increasing the availability and use of this data in support of rigorous program evaluation.” The CEP wanted to evaluate federal programs to determine what works and which are a waste of money.
We already know that most government programs don’t work, so why are taxpayers having to fund yet another government agency?
This is a sham for establishing a national database to link and share data across agencies, with a profile on each individual citizen to be readily accessed by researchers and program evaluators.
On October 21, 2016 the Congressional CEP held a public hearing where Big Data, Big Business, and Big Government joined forces in calling for a central one-stop shopping database.
They want to access more student information by linking data among the 50 state longitudinal data systems together with data held by the federal government. When the SLDS were implemented, many grassroots activists warned their state politicians that the information would be shared in this fashion. The warning fell on deaf ears.
Now their fears are becoming reality.
A bipartisan Senate bill has already been filed (S 1121 – “The College Transparency Act”) which will allow the federal government to monitor, track, and pigeon hole Americans from the postsecondary level on through the workforce.
On June 28, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education met to discuss effectiveness of the current laws governing education research and student privacy protection.
The press release of that meeting states that Congress, while trying to strengthen student privacy laws, is looking for “new ways to utilize education research to create a better learning environment for students.” The press release notes that data sharing is important for education research.
After billions of wasted federal dollars and mountains of education research about how to improve education, students are performing worse than ever. They are subjected to ongoing education reform to test new ideas on improving learning with each new radical reform growing more ridiculous. Schools are centers of left wing indoctrination where students are steered toward government approved thinking and beliefs. Academic learning has been replaced by workforce training.
It’s time for the federal government to get out of education and out of collecting personal data on its citizens.
Americans should be very, very wary about a national unit-record database because the government will require students to supply personal data without their knowing how it will be used or shared without their consent. The potential for citizen surveillance with complete loss of our American freedoms is enormous.
As for improving student privacy, we already know the federal government has a failing record on that. We need look no further than the OPM scandal and the 2015 Audit of the U.S. Department of Education.
Once college and workforce data are connected with pre-K-12 data, the 4th Amendment will be shredded and the government will be watching over every detail of our lives from “cradle ‘til grave.”
With mid-term elections on the horizon, it behooves establishment, big government politicians to remember that Donald Trump was elected president because we want less government in our lives, not more.
Follow Dr. Carole Haynes at www.drcarolehhaynes.com, and on Twitter