Monday, September 30, 2013

Cockroft Weekly Column: Common Core data collection a real thing; a real concern.

I have written and shared my concerns about the implementation of Common Core Standards in our education system many times before, but I wanted to touch on one more area that I researched this week. Concerns of less local control, less strict standards, and outlandish spending while Common Core Standards is being implemented in Oklahoma are all viable and real. On top of all that, issues of data collection by state and federal government on our students should be distressing for all of us.

In a recent publication in the Federal Register, the US Department of Education put out a notice for public review detailing this so called “data mining”:

“…The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011), sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), is a survey that focuses on children's early school experiences beginning with kindergarten and continuing through the fifth grade. It includes the collection of data from parents, teachers, school administrators, and non-parental care providers, as well as direct child assessments…. the ECLS-K:2011 is exceptionally broad in its scope and coverage of child development, early learning, and school progress, drawing together information from multiple sources to provide rich data about the population of children who were kindergartners in the 2010-11 school year….”

Proponents of Common Core Standards state there is no data collection dictated in the standards. They proclaim, “They’re only standards.” But the standards allow for common coded data sets to compare children. If there were not “common” standards and assessments, then the tracking of children via a common data set would not be possible. The standards do set up the procedure to track students.  Common Core provides the framework for common “direct child assessments.” It’s not much of a conspiracy theory when the government tells you what personal data it needs to track your children and publishes it in the Federal Register.

The NCES came out with more than 400 data points that Common Core proponents said would never be used to gain data, including points that don’t pertain to quality of education like bus stop location, immunization status and healthcare plan, religious beliefs, voting status and nickname. A complete list of data points can be viewed on my blog. However, based on this proposal by the federal government, it sure seems as if that data set could be put in place and data gathered from parents, teachers, school administrators and non-parental care providers.

Once again, I cannot see how implementation of these “standards” could be good for our local school districts all across Oklahoma. I encourage you to share your thoughts and concerns with me and your local school administrations. Whether you are for or against putting Common Core in place, your elected officials need to hear from you to move Oklahoma in the right direction. We can’t do it without you.

Please call my office anytime at: 405-557-7349. Email me at: Follow me on my blog:, Facebook: Representative Josh Cockroft, and Twitter: @VoteCockroft27.

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