Monday, February 29, 2016

Why Your Race Isn't Genetic

DNA doesn't determine race. Society does.  

Nature & Technology

 Michael White      

"The concept of human races appears to be solidly grounded in present-day biology and our evolutionary history. But if you asked that conference of geneticists to give you a genetic definition of race, they wouldn’t be able to do it. Human races are not natural genetic groups; they are socially constructed categories."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

From Utah: The Miracle Got UnMiracled: HB164, voted down, is up for another vote. #PARENTALRIGHTS

"Who’s being manipulated, threatened, or bribed at the legislative level – and by whom? Who knows?  There’s no investigative reporting being done in Utah by any newspaper on the subject of education industry corruption, or the education industry’s machinations at the Utah State Office of Education. There should be. The education sales industry is one of the biggest, most money-making industries in the world."

You have experienced the same underhanded tactic to which we in California have become subjected. Those authors whose bills failed requested another hearing in the beginning of the new term simply because they could and there was no one to stop them. You might look up Congressional bill HR 3033, The READ act which has re-surfaced with generous amounts of money attached. Your bill may have now received the federal money it needed to be activated.

For those wanting to see our state get off federal dollars, please read this resolution, which PASSED and needs publicity among legislators.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

ASU College of Health Solutions: Speech/Language Genetics Lab Research

Research Topic:

About Dr. Peter

Beate Peter, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, C Stat Gen, joined the faculty in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Arizona State University as Assistant Professor in August 2014. She is Affiliate Assistant Professor in the University of Washington's Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, where she was Research Assistant Professor from 2012 to 2014. In October 2014, she was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor at Saint Louis University, where she regularly teaches an introductory genetics course for speech-language pathology graduate students and practicing clinicians.


Dr. Peter hypothesizes that reading disorders result from biologically based interferences with information transfer in the brain and that these interferences can be documented across many modalities and measures including EEG, ABR, MRI, and behavioral measures. She and her collaborators are currently collecting pilot data toward an extensive, multidisciplinary study of dyslexia where convergent evidence from the diverse measures will be evaluated for its genetic etiology. Findings from the Peter lab's study of childhood apraxia of speech are providing motivation to investigate sequential processing in dyslexia. Results from behavioral testing are consistent with the hypothesis that a deficit in rapid sequential processing underlies both childhood apraxia of speech and dyslexia. This may explain why many children with childhood apraxia of speech have difficulty learning to read and spell and, conversely, why individuals with dyslexia have difficulty with complex speech tasks.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

President Signs Smith Dyslexia Bill Into Law

Feb 18, 2016
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – The president today signed into law the bipartisan Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act (READ Act) (H.R. 3033). The READ Act, introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), supports important research to further our understanding of dyslexia, including better methods for early detection and teacher training.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Group Aims to Boost Advocacy Skills for Parents of Students With Disabilities

".....Meetings held in the wake of that scandal revealed other deep-rooted problems in the 7,000-student school system, including allegations that district officials discriminated against students with disabilities and minority students."

"During a months-long community listening tour, Taschner searched for ways to rebuild ties between the district and the families it serves. Around the same time, Rob Marshall, a Coatesville native who was completing a divinity degree, was looking for ideas to meet a community-service graduation requirement.
Taschner and Marshall found in each other like-minded spirits. From their partnership came Citizens Who Seek Educational Equity, or Citizens Who S.E.E., a group of volunteers who serve as advocates for parents of students with disabilities.
The volunteers—educational heavy-hitters who include the superintendent of another Pennsylvania district, a retired school psychologist, and a former youth-justice specialist—sit right alongside parents at meetings on their children's individualized education programs, or IEPs, helping to hammer out plans for services and supports for those special education students."

"Volunteers involved in Citizens Who S.E.E. stress that they are not employees of the district. They will butt heads with school officials if necessary in support of parents."

“User Profiling” by Department of Ed #StopSETRA

by Christel Swasey  February 10, 2016

Buried deep in a 2012 report on “Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics,” the US Department of Education states that one of the key applications of educational data mining is “user profiling” (page 25).
The paragraph says:  “These application areas are (1) modeling of user knowledge, user behavior, and user experience; (2) user profiling; (3) modeling of key concepts in a domain and modeling a domain’s knowledge components, (4) and trend analysis.”
Later on, in Exhibit 1, we see a flow chart.  It shows “student learning data” flowing into the “predictive model,” the “intervention engine” and then into the “adaptation engine.”  Clearly, the goal  is government-directed behavior modification following student psychological profiling.
This is sad, because “users” now include even babies, since the Department of Education has successfully pushed ESSA into law, with its “early childhood education” programs that are included in the citizen data mining venture.
The Educational Data Mining report of 2012 is not the only such report from the U.S. Department of Education. Related is its 2013 report, “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance” which contained more of the same psychological data gathering goals.
The “Promoting Grit” report included pictures of biometric sensory devices: pressure mouse sensors, posture analysis seats, facial expression cameras, and wireless skin conductance sensors, which would mine student psychological elements, including “grit,” “tenacity,” “perseverance” and more.

In SETRA (the Strengthening Education Through Research Act, currently in the US House of Representatives, having somehow passed the Senate) we find that the federal research programs will be strengthened and enlarged so that more data, including “social and emotional learning” will be gathered for federal use.
Philosophical and constitutional questions need to be hotly debated by the House of Representatives.  More importantly, these need discussion at the dinner table, by moms and dads and teachers and principals and school board members:
  • Will American children grow up free– as self-governing, free agents, with intellectual and moral privacy and the accompanying power to soar outside any box, as well as the power to fail?  How, if even their thoughts and beliefs are monitored and subjected to “intervention”?

  • Do Americans want students to be profiled, centrally managed, and nudged in a predetermined, government-and-workforce approved direction –constantly monitored and told what to do?  If so, what qualifies central planners to trump individuals’ and families’ desires?

  • Does widespread societal faith in “experts” relegate personal privacy and real autonomy to historical artifact?  Should personal data be studied and behavior “intervened” by unsupervised central planners? Will this really keep us “safe,” as cogs in a centrally managed, economy-focused collective?  Do we want to be a government-branded herd, or free, individual, human beings?
Here come the practical questions for how all this profiling may pan out.
  • If we allow government to keep psychological profiles (not just on students– since the P-20 Workforce Pipeline  means preschool through workforce citizens get tagged) –then, what happens if a thirty year-old wants to buy a gun, and his background check comes back negatively because when he was in 5th grade, his data was interpreted to mean future depressed individual?  And what if his 5th grade data was incorrect?
  • What if “at-risk academically” is redefined and applied to a student for attending a private, religious, or home school?
  • What if “mentally unstable” is applied to anyone who does not agree with what is being taught in school?
  • What if “socially deviant” is applied to anyone who disagrees, or is bored with, collectivist groupthink and group work?  –The “what if” list could be endless.
We don’t want to see any “what if”s come to pass.  We can put proper protections in place.  Legislators, write bills and voters, actively push to get them passed –laws that will deny researchers, school systems and governments access to psychologically profiling, via tests, curricula, and standards without informed, written consent.
The fact that “profiling’s already here” is no excuse.  We can begin where we are, and take a stand today. It is true that our students are already being psychologically profiled, to some degree, by the government and schools, already: look at the math standard for Common Core that requires a student to be tagged for presence or absence of “perseverance”. That’s not about math; that’s about psychology and character.
The perseverance tag and others like it will certainly be on the SAGE (Common Core, CEDS aligned) tests; notably in Utah and Florida, which use tests created and scored by the behavioral research company AIR (American Institutes for Research).
For additional evidence of current psychological profiling, look at Utah’s “Student Strengths Inventory,” which gathers nonacademic data on high schoolers.
But none of that is any excuse.
If rain is leaking through a hole in the kitchen, that does not mean we can innocently stand by while someone pokes holes in our living room roof and the bedroom ceiling, and makes plans for the removal of the roof.
The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, said that if men were angels, no government would be necessary.  To that I add, if governments and corporations were angels, no privacy protections would be necessary; student data would be consensually collected, analyzed, and used to bless the lives and enlarge the opportunities of every student.  But men, governments, and corporations are not angels.  That’s why We, the People, need to stop invasive bills like federal SETRA; it’s why we need to write and pass good, protective laws locally.
Take action today.
Write a letter. Make a phone call. Meet with a legislator. Pray with great faith; miracles of knowledge and understanding and miracles within political workings are needed, to awaken an asleep populace and to build up protections for our children’s minds, hearts, and freedoms.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Five ways to help a dyslexic person in the workplace

By Victoria King BBC News

A dyslexic woman, Meseret Kumulchew, has won a disability discrimination case against her employer, Starbucks. She said that with some relatively straightforward adjustments she could have fulfilled her role successfully, but those were never made.
So what sort of adjustments can an employer make to help a dyslexic person?

GradNation infograph report for Washington

25.1% Grad Rate Gap between Students With Disabilities 

and Non-SWD

Starbucks employee wins dyslexia discrimination case

By Clive Coleman Legal correspondent, BBC News      
9 February 2016    

A woman with dyslexia has won a disability discrimination case against her employer Starbucks after she was accused of falsifying documents.
A tribunal found Meseret Kumulchew had been discriminated against after making mistakes due to her difficulties with reading, writing and telling the time.
She was given lesser duties at her branch in London and told to retrain, which left her feeling suicidal.
Starbucks said it was in discussions about providing more workplace support.
The judgement against Starbucks was made in mid-December, and there will now be a separate hearing to determine any compensation.
As a supervisor at Starbucks at Clapham Junction, in south-west London, Ms Kumulchew was responsible for taking the temperature of fridges and water at specific times and entering the results in a duty roster.
She was accused of falsifying the documents after mistakenly entering wrong information.