Uncle Sam Wants Your Child on his National Database
By Sam Blumenfeld
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #26, 1998.
From the number of your child's cavities to his private religious and political beliefs, the new national educational database is just a teensy bit too intrusive, don't you think? And it's online now. It's a good thing you homeschool.
The U.S. Department of Education is now getting its student database online. The first step towards this database was the Student Data Handbook for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education (NCES 94-303), released in 1994. Comprised of 228 pages plus about 100 pages of appendices, this handbook can be obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Education. Send for your own copy and prepare to be appalled. Or, just read this article and find out what to do.
The rationale for the handbook is described in Chapter 1 in typical bureaucratese:
Accurate and comprehensive information is needed in order to make appropriate cost-effective and timely decisions about students within both public and private schools [our emphasis]. . . .The handbook identifies concepts and data elements which are used to describe and make decisions about students. Some decisions are very specific, pertaining to personal needs, vocational choices, and educational programs of individual students. Other decisions are broader in scope, concerning the planning and management of education for large groups of students . . .
No Real Confidentiality
Although lip service is paid to confidentiality as required in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the law allows information in student records to be disclosed "without student or parental permission" to nine categories, from "school employees" to "certain government officials."
Cracking the Code
What kind of data will the system collect? The most detailed personal information - including enough information to make it simple for the government to identify and single out any group of children (and their families) whose beliefs or practices the government might want to suppress.
The system uses a number code for each specific piece of information. For example, codes 001 to 012 deal with the student's name. Codes 013 to 036 deal with the student's background, which includes Identification Number (013), Identification System (014) with fourteen subcategories: 01 Driver's license number, 02 Health record number, 03 Medicaid Number, 04 Migrant Student Records Transfer System (MSRTS) number, 05 Professional Certificate or License Number, 06 School-Assigned Number, 07 Selective Service Number, 08 Social Security Administration Number, 09 College Board/ACT code set of PK-grade 12 institutions, 10 Local Education Agency (LEA) number, 11 State Education Agency (SEA) number, 12 U.S. Department of Education, National Center of Statistics (NCES) number, 13 other organization number (e.g., Roman Catholic Diocese or association number), 99 other. In addition, the student's religious background is identified, in many cases right down to the individual denomination.
Homeschoolers Are Numbered, Too
Will homeschoolers be included in this data-gathering system? Under Address/Contact Information we find that code 056 "Non-Resident Attendance Rationale - The reason that the student attends a school outside of his or her usual attendance area," contains 10 subcategories, including 07 "Home Schooling - The student is receiving educational instruction offered in a home environment, as regulated by state law, for reasons other than health." Thus, homeschoolers are not only included, but have their own code number: 056-07.
Under "Discontinuing Schooling Reason" (112) we find subcategory 19 "Religion - The student left school because of religious convictions."
Under "Non-Entrance Information" we find category 116 "Reason for Non-Entrance in Local or Secondary School," under which we find subcategory 03 "Home Schooling - The individual is receiving educational services offered in a home environment for reasons other than health." Also under 116 we find subcategory 05 "Religious Reason - The individual or his or her parent/guardian has religious convictions that prohibit participation in the educational program of the school or education agency, and the individual is not receiving approved instruction elsewhere." Thus, the government controllers cover all bases.
Data on students will also include extensive assessment information. Under "Assessment Type" 189 we find the following subcategories: 01 Achievement Test, 02 Advanced Placement Test, 03 Aptitude Test, 04 Attitudinal Test - "An assessment to measure the mental and emotional set or patterns of likes and dislikes or opinions held by a student or a group of students. This is often used in relation to considerations such as controversial issues or personal adjustments," 05 Cognitive and Perceptual Skills Test, 06 Developmental Observation, 07 Interest Inventory, 08 Language Proficiency Test, 09 Manual Dexterity Test, 10 Mental Ability (Intelligence) Test, 11 Performance Assessment, 12 Personality Test - "An assessment to measure a student's affective or nonintellectual aspects of behavior such as emotional adjustment, interpersonal relations, motivation, interests, and attitudes," 13 Portfolio Assessment, 14 Psychological Test - "An assessment to measure a sample of behavior in an objective and standardized way," 15 Psychomotor Test, 16 Reading Readiness Test.
Note that the assessment tests are in complete harmony with School-to-Work and Outcome-Based Education. Note also that attitudinal tests have zero academic value. Their sole purpose is to determine whether or not a child has been successfully indoctrinated in the worldview favored by the current elite. This sort of data just begs to be abused. Imagine government officials calling up a list of all children who object to homosexual behavior, or who believe the current government exceeds its constitutional scope. Finally, what need is there for such information about any student (academic grades and achievement test results aside) to be kept in his or her permanent record? Reading readiness, to pick one example, is a transient quality, irrelevant once one has learned to read.
All About Your Teeth
It's hard to imagine a more intrusive data-gathering system than this one, and it's difficult to exaggerate the thoroughness of the system. For example, under Health Conditions we find the category of Oral Health with the following code designations: 230 Number of Teeth, 231 Number of Permanent Teeth Lost, 232 Number of Teeth Decayed, 233 Number of Teeth Restored, plus nine more subcategories covering occlusions, soft tissue condition, dental prosthetics, and orthodontic appliances. (It's so important to keep information about your child's braces on his permanent record.)
Socialized Medicine Via Education
If the liberals can't get socialized medicine though the health care system, they'll get it through the education system. Take a look at code number 331 (Service Provider Type) and subcategory 02 (Health Nurse), defined as a
Certified, licensed, registered nurse or nurse practitioner who provides any of the following services:
- Case finding activities to include health appraisal, screening for developmental maturational/milestones, vision and hearing acuity, speech, dental deviations, spinal deviations, growth, and nutritional disorders.
- Nursing care procedures that include immunization, medication-monitoring and administration, nursing assessment, and procedures related to the health impaired student's individual Health Plan (IHP).
- Care coordination and outreach to children who do not otherwise receive preventive health care, follow-ups to assure referral completion, home visits for follow-up planning or home environment assessment, and interim prenatal or family planning and monitoring.
- Patient/student counseling or instruction to include nursing assessment, counseling, and anticipatory guidance to maintain wellness or provide assistance for identified health problems or concerns . . .
What kind of individual will emerge from an "education" system as all-encompassing and suffocating as this one? American children will be serviced to death by their own government, which will surround them with teachers and specialists tormenting them with endless tests, emotional probing, strip searching, and required politically-correct performances. This is a system designed to turn every healthy youngster who enters it into an academically crippled, emotionally confused neurotic.
Do We Need This?
We are told that the government needs all of this incredibly detailed information so that effective decisions can be made for the student by bureaucrats, teachers, administrators, and others on the government's payroll. But what it all adds up to is a tool of behavioral control and management of the American population by the controlling elite. The government of a free people does not go about creating the most detailed and thorough personal dossier in history on each citizen from his date of birth.
What Should We Do?
The first and best step is homeschooling. If your child never enters the "system," he's not going to end up taking attitudinal tests whose results will be stored forever without your knowledge.
Never submit any "intentions to homeschool," test results, learning plans, or other information not required by your state's laws.
Join Home School Legal Defense Association, if you haven't already. HSLDA (www.hslda.org) has consistently - and successfully - fought all efforts to impose national standards and a national database, and all state efforts to gather intrusive data about homeschooled children.
The separation of school and state would solve this problem completely, for those willing to take a longer-term view. Towards that end, you might want to visit the Separation of School and State Alliance site, at www.SepSchool.org.
Finally, pray. Pray for our kids. Pray for all the kids in school. Pray for our elected representatives. Pray for our country. It's time to stand up . . . and not be numbered.