|Back to September Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 248||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||SEPTEMBER 2006|
|New National Defense Education Act of 2006 |
Building the U.S. National Student Database
The bill proposes "To modernize the education system of the United States, to arm individuals with 21st century knowledge and skills in order to preserve the economic and national security of the United States, and for other purposes."
Aside from math, science, engineering, technology, and foreign language support, the bill contains proposals that further the old global school reforms that received attention in the 90's decade through Goals 2000, School-to-Work, and other federal laws reforms now promoted by No Child Left Behind.
S. 3502 helps consolidate control of education content through encouraging partnerships with higher education and state adoption of national/international standards that are known to contain nonacademic behavioral/life skills and workplace skills. It is doubtful that alignment with nonacademic objectives will improve student academic achievement.
S. 3502 mandates more data gathering and aids in creating what amounts to a national database by requiring statewide data systems to have the ability to interact with databases outside of education.
Bill proposals not only affect public and private school students, but also students in the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau.
S. 3502 amends the National Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act, Internal Revenue Code, National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002, Higher Education Act of 1963, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Also included is support for activity that links with the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
The data systems must be able to link with military and employment databases, and "to the extent possible, coordinate with other relevant State databases, such as criminal justice or social services data systems." Other requirements:
Many states have begun building data systems and bringing in the components listed above (see "Building Statewide Data Systems," page 4). Lack of money has hindered development, but S. 3502 would authorize more funds.
The implication of S. 3502 supporting the building blocks for a national student database where information may be shared among non-education agencies military, workforce, social services, criminal justice, and more is troubling, particularly when considering the 700+ elements identified for student data collection by the U.S. Dept. of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. (See "What's in Your Child's Data File," Education Reporter, Feb. 2006)
Other council responsibilities include encouraging: adoption of early education (to link with elementary schools), partnership between secondary education and higher education, and activity to promote statewide P-16 reform acceptance.
Many states already have councils established through the governor's executive order or state agency initiatives, usually involving state departments of education and/or boards of education. A few states (North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas) have legislated the formation of a council.
More testing and data collection
Exploring use of a secondary level "placement examination, end of course examination, college, workforce, or Armed Forces preparedness examination, or admissions examination" is suggested. National/International alignment
S. 3502 encourages an "alignment analysis" to compare State academic content standards and student academic achievement standards; and state standards alignment with national benchmarks including those in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
The bill directs determination of student achievement levels and "grade 12 preparedness levels" by identifying knowledge and skills that "are prerequisite to credit-bearing coursework in higher education . . . , participation in the 21st century workforce, and the Armed Forces" and "are competitive with international content and performance standards."
Global education goals promoted by international groups like the OECD, UNESCO, World Bank, and Group of Eight (G8) have been contested in the United States as being contrary to producing well-educated students who are prepared for U.S. citizenship.
Containing questionable "skills and knowledge" and "world citizenship" promotion, international education involves attitude, value, and behavior "standards" that conflict with concepts of inalienable rights, individual merit, privacy, private property, free speech, national allegiance, national sovereignty, and more.