Cycle of Indoctrination
Ed Tech providers are permitted to administer invasive surveys to students, sometimes without parental knowledge or consent, depriving them of their PPRA rights of access, ability to opt-out of their children, and state SDPP.
“This data is tied to their climate rating and the money that they get,” Rhonda Thomas, president of The Truth in Education, told The Epoch Times. “This data is being used by third-party organizations. An to reinforce the need for more social emotional learning in our schools.”
“They’re giving them a survey, if that child is not on the track they want them to be on they can change the algorithm based on the surveys, they know what they need to do, to change the algorithm to start moving them either individually or as a group,” Thomas said.
Thomas said a lot of new legislation is written to support universal mental health screenings, which allows schools to bypass parental consent.
“HB 1013 has in there that we can do universal mental health screenings on everyone beginning infancy,” Thomas said.
Education Consultant for Truth in Education, Barbara Bush told The Epoch Times that schools are not teaching students to think critically but training them to react.
“Educating is presenting information in its proper context. In a way that it can be applied in multiple ways,” Barbara Bush said. “Whereas training, is designed to eliminate the reflective critical thinking. It is to give you many responses that become reactions and our reaction is void of thought.”
According to many parental rights groups, including Courage is a Habit, the online surveys and SEL curriculum have the same end goal which is to collect student data and perpetuate a cycle of indoctrination. This allows the Ed Tech companies to continue to profit and for school districts to cheat students out of a rigorous academic education.
“Mental health data is collected and interpreted through an equity lens. Schools receive a grade and thereby justification for further SEL investment. But children also receive a score based on conformity to the collective standards of social justice. Much like a social credit system, these scores may later be used to evaluate a student’s suitability for college acceptance and entry into the workforce,” states The Truth About Education report, Unmaking SEL (pdf).
Scope of Data Mining
“The schools give children evaluations that measure mental health based on highly personal questions about sexuality, depression and anxiety, family life, risky behaviors, and attitudes and beliefs about divisive issues like race and gender. The results are stored in the child’s dashboard, creating a permanent psychological profile that follows them as they change grades or even schools through SLDS,” states the Truth in Education report Unmasking SEL.
The PII data collected by students is very detailed and specific.
A factor that allows this level of data collection is that FERPA does not limit Ed Tech in their use of the data because there is a lot of room for interpretation of the law, said Schwarz.
“It’s a gray area,” Schwarz said he has heard Ed Tech providers say, “that FERPA doesn’t explicitly prohibit advertising,” said Schwarz. “It doesn’t say you can’t use educational data for purposes of refining your product and building new products to service students.”
A series published by The Markup in January 2022, revealed that Naviance software – which many school districts use –collects sensitive PII starting in 6 grade, and then sells it to colleges and universities so that those institutions can then “target students with paid advertisements,” even allowing those admissions officials use the PII to target specific demographics.
In addition, The Markup revealed that Naviance is owned by PowerSchool, which is owned by a private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, which stores data on more than 75 percent of the nation’s K-12 students. The equity company has “an educational software empire that wields unseen influence over the educational journeys of tens of millions of children.”
Children’s personal information collected from their activities at school is being used to create personality profiles that may land them on lists used by law enforcement to identify potential criminals. Florida’s Pasco County Sheriff’s Office used student data to target “at-risk” youth.
“Students can be placed on the list if they get a “D” grade in class, miss school three times in a quarter, get a single discipline referral during a quarter or have experienced childhood trauma,” according to the Tampa Bay Times report.
In 2022, Hackers gained access to highly sensitive personal information of nearly 820,000 current and former New York City and Connecticut school district students through the software vendor Illuminate..