We Don’t Need a School Board! Unfortunately….

Kaye Beach

March 13, 2011

I have not followed the school board controversy in detail but when I heard that there was a move on to change  remove powers from the OK State School Board it set off some alarm bells in my mind.

Last year I began to research Oklahoma’s newly implemented Schools Interoperability Framework or SIF.  SIF is a data sharing specification that enables  the exchange of student and school information between diverse data systems.

Oklahoma is the first state to fully implement SIF.  Oklahoma is also the first state to do so by law.

70 OKLA. STAT. tit. 70, § 3-161 (2007), available at http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/OK_Statutes/CompleteTitles/os70.rtf (Student Tracking and Reporting (STAR) Pilot Program)

There are two things  that I learned from this research that stand out very clearly to me. One was that our public school system has been very effectively federalized by the implementation of national standards.  Two is that the amount of data collection, sharing  and  consolidation being done through our schools is appalling.

Oklahoma Schools: Data Collecting or Dossier Building?

Below is a link to  the document, released on May 20, 2010,  that I found that prompted me to begin an intensive period of research into the obvious restructuring of and apparent federal take over of Oklahoma’s  school system;

Oklahoma Receives First-Ever SIF Excellence Award

At the time, I wrote;

“What I see is an astonishing degree of database merging throughout the public and private sphere that in no way benefits us or our children.  Health, welfare, education and law enforcement to name but a few sectors, are getting together and what that portends for our personal security and for individual freedom is terrifying.” Read more

I also remember thinking that the State School Board really has no purpose once the federal standards and streamlining of data was accomplished and this is why the news of HB 2139 which proposes to to remove the power from the State Board really grabbed me.


March 13 2011
As some of you heard we had an interesting vote on a bill on Monday. HB 2139, a bill by Speaker Kris Steele, would remove many powers from the State Board of Education and shift those directly to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The bill passed last week, but the section of the bill requiring the legislation to go into effect before the school year did not receive the necessary 68 votes.
The vote was held open and the membership of the House who were present voted to compel members to attend the session if they were absent.
After the vote was held open for an hour, the bill still did not get the necessary votes, which means the legislation will now go into effect 90 days after the bill becomes law should it make it through the rest of the process with the current language.  link

Someone else has noticed these problems too.

March 12, 2011 Pajamas Media reports:

Forty-one states — plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands — have signed on to a set of standards that makes local school boards all but superfluous. State boards of education become redundant as well if curricula are decided at a national level rather than at a state level. link

The story also covers the data collecting issue very well.  It is obvious that the writer is as creeped out by it as I am.  Read the article here.

The idea of data consolidation and sharing might not raise a red flag for many people unless they really think about it.

Personal data about our children (and ourselves) is viewed as a commodity.

“I represent a K-12 constituency, mostly schools and states, and I can tell you that they’re getting data requests from health care, criminal justice, higher education, the workforce, early childhood– all different verticals from what they’re used to,” Fruth says. “Those verticals may have their own systems built on web service technologies. So this is a natural extension of what our audience wants.” read more

Here  are a few aspects  of personal  privacy, autonomy and the exercise of free will (all of which are prerequisite to liberty) that are destroyed by ever increasing data consolidation efforts taking place at every level and in every sector of government.  Understand that data held by private companies about you is also folded into the mix.

In the US we operate under the presumption of freedom. Meaning that we do not expect to have our  affairs overlooked by others unless their are  compelling reasons to the contrary.  This is often expressed as “the right to be left alone”

We have the  right to establish our boundaries between public and private spaces.  These boundaries should be enforced by law and respected.

One of the hallmarks of  mental or emotional health is that an individual discloses information about themselves appropriately.  Disclosing too much, too fast or being unusually suspicious and withholding are both indicators that something is amiss.  Our government and their private “partners” have taken it upon themselves to decide for us how our personal details will be shared, with whom and how the information will be used. It occurs to me that trying to maintaining a modicum of control over ones life is a function of our survival instinct and people who express no concern of this issue either don’t understand the problem or somehow their basic human instinct to survive has been damaged.  I also believe that the fact that our government is doing this is a telling sign of  grave dysfunction.

Privacy is useful for more than just a bubble bath.

“Privacy in this view is not merely an individual right but a positive social good, for it is the cradle from which can grow the resistance, creativity and innovation essential for the renewal of a society.

That it necessarily can also foster rebellion, deviancy and crime does not negate its positive potential; this is the price we pay for diversities of thought, varieties of practices, and differences of views.

Without privacy, the coercive force of hegemonic power to control not only behavior but the innermost thoughts of citizens becomes absolute.”

From  ‘Waking up to the Surveillance Society’

Autonomy  I think is best  defined as  the desire to avoid being manipulated or dominated wholly by others.

The people in Oklahoma understand sovereignty.  I only wish they could see how it is being sucked out through our state data systems.

Before we jump on the consolidation bandwagon we might want to consider the whole thing a little more carefully.  You want efficiency?  A dictatorship is the most efficient form of government there is.

How to Create Total Dominance

(1) Consolidate everything.

(2) Commercialize everything.

(3) Classify everything.

(4) Claim everything.

(5) Control everything.



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