"Education Liberty Watch notes that PPRA (a federal law that is supposed to prohibit collection of psychological, sexual, or religious mindsets) only applies to student surveys– not to curriculum! It’s a loophole. Check out Cornell law school’s information on PPRA.
So what SETRA aims to do, in gathering sensitive “social and emotional” data, it can do, because of that loophold. SETRA’s aims are not prohibited. The data miners simply have to hide their psychological stalking inside the curriculum. And this is easier and more common than most of us realize.
Psychological or belief data can be mined without openly labeling the effort a psychological, religious, or emotional survey– and even without the knowledge of teachers or school administrators.
Education Liberty Watch points out that an English Language Arts curriculum that is being used in over 40 Florida school districts and several California districts, a curriculum published by the College Board, called SpringBoard, contains many psychosocial, or belief-based, questions such as this:
Activity 4.9 Justice and Moral Reasoning
I should pay all my taxes because-
- I could go to jail if I do not
- people will think of me as a good citizen
- my taxes along with those of others will help to pay for services used by all
Even math tests can contain psychological tests. They gather information about student “perseverance,” “grit,” and other nonacademic “competencies”. In fact, perseverance is one of the nonacademic standards tracked by Common Core math.
It’s not a bad idea to teach math students to persevere. It is immoral, though, to pretend that a math test is testing only math, when it is also testing the psychological attribute of perseverance or another nonacademic attribute or belief– without the informed consent of a parent.
And if politicians and corporate giants get their way, it won’t be possible for a student or parent to avoid this type of psychological data mining by opting out of the high stakes tests, because stealth testing is here to take high-stakes testings place.
Did you notice how the parent-and-teacher-generated, national opt-out-of-testing movement has been hijacked by top level politicians siphoning the grassroots’ energy toward the newest ed reform: “integration of testing into an aligned curriculum,” or “embedded testing” to replace the big-assessment tradition? This is also known as “stealth assessment."