"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tennessee Politicians Squirm As Gates Classroom Cameras and Biometric Devices Become Public Knowledge

From Clockwork Orange
“Track me” is an oft-repeated command barked by the positivized would-be teachers and temporary missionaries who receive a modicum of training to stand guard over children incarcerated in segregated corporate reform schools that have come to be regarded by Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, alike, as the solution to the growing problem of poor urban populations.  These total compliance corporate charters and their public emulators are designed to provide soul-crushing interventions that produce behaviorally and culturally sterilized children of the poor who grow up blaming themselves for the problems that poverty and racism that have passed down to their generation.  This no excuses schooling process is key to disabling pacifying the population and to quash potential resistance to a dystopic future of dead end jobs with unlivable wages within contained urban ghettos.

Recently in Tennessee, “track me” has taken on new dimensions, with the introduction of cameras, computer screens, and other biometric sensing devices that monitor where children are looking, while keeping track of how focused students are on their reams of remedial digitized worksheets they are force fed daily.  The plan for now is to use this biometric data to evaluate the "effectiveness" of teachers to exert and maintain total control. 

With such measures in place, the transition from caring teacher to testing overseer will be almost complete, and the business of schools will have become the business of business, with test score growth quotas providing the production numbers used to measure the success or failure of the schooling equivalents of fast food eateries.   Instead of clogging the arteries of children, these cognitive and behavioral fast fact school dispensaries will narrow the movement of thought and creativity among poor children conditioned through repeated feeding of predigested junk, so that their brains are slowly starved.

The handful of children who are groomed through these testing madrasahs to become “college and career ready” will offer testimony as to the beneficence of their oppressors and to the need for even harsher and more demanding remedies for those who fail to survive the gauntlet of intimidation, shame, and guilt.  The survivors will wear their gritty pride on their sleeves as proof of the possibility to emerge on the other side of hell school with a modest claim to some offered crumbs of the American dream.

Since 2009 when Bill Gates committed to spend $5 billion for a teacher evaluation scheme that will create a total surveillance K-12 education system, the Gates Foundation has pumped money into every corner of the nation, especially in states in Tennessee where a 9.75% regressive sales tax, federal grants, and corporate foundation money keep schools open while protecting those most able to pay from any widespread talk of a state income tax.

Now with resistance to the Gates-purchased Common Core about to explode among conservatives and progressives across the state, and with the smell of lawsuits in the air over unfair teacher evaluations based on test score growth, and with a new scandal about to erupt over the use, transmittal, and storage of of student biometric data and video data, the Chair of the Senate Education Committee has offered rhetorical assurances in an attempt to quell what the State’s sellout to the Gates Foundation has wrought.

Below is a news piece by Tom Humphrey, and below that is the text of the SB 1469, which attempts to keep the lid on the parental revolt that is brewing over the intrusive and unethical collection of student data.

News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE) — Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) has filed a resolution in the General Assembly expressing Tennessee’s sovereignty over how students are educated in the state.  Senate Joint Resolution 491 provides that the state, not the federal government, should determine the content of Tennessee’s state academic standards and the measures used to assess how well students have mastered them.
“This resolution declares that Tennessee will not stand for federal intrusion into the academic standards taught in our classrooms, nor will we tolerate Washington using any such standards to coerce policy decisions at the state or local level,” said Senator Gresham. “This is our responsibility.  We are specifically talking about intrusion on our assessments, curriculum and instructional materials.”
Gresham said the resolution spells out that Tennessee considers any collection of student data by the federal government an overreach of the federal government’s constitutional authority.  She said this also extends to organizations contracted to conduct tests on students in Tennessee in regards to any potential sharing or allowing access to pupil data.
“This puts the federal government, as well as any testing company utilized by Tennessee to measure our student’s progress on notice,” added Gresham.  “Any attempts to collect data on our students will be met with strong measures.  We will not allow it.”
The resolution now goes to the Senate Education Committee for consideration before moving to the full Senate for approval.


By  Gresham

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, relative to student records.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE: SECTION 1.  Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, Part 1, is amended by
adding the following language as a new section:

(a)  As used in this section, biometric record means a record of one (1) or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual, including:
(1)  Fingerprints;

(2)  Retina and iris patterns; (3)  Voiceprints;
(4)  DNA sequence, including newborn screening information; (5)  Facial characteristics; and
(6)  Handwriting.

(b)  Unless explicitly mandated by federal statute, a state agency or education institution shall obtain written consent from parents or students, in the case of students eighteen (18) years of age or older, before collecting any individual student data including, but not limited to:
(1)  Student biometric records;

(2)  Student data collected via affective computing, including: (A)  Analysis of facial expressions;
(B)  EEG brain wave patterns; (C)  Skin conductance;

     (D)  Galvanic skin response;
     (E)  Heart-rate variability;
     (F)  Pulse;

     (G)  Blood volume;           (H)  Posture; and
     (I)  Eye-tracking; and

(3)  Data resulting from state or national assessments, that measure:
(A)  Psychological resources;
(B) Mindsets;

(C)  Learning strategies;
(D)  Effortful control;
(E)  Attributes;

(F) Dispositions;
(G)  Social skills;
(H)  Attitudes; or
(I) Intrapersonal resources.

(c) No state agency or education institution shall pursue or accept any grant, whether from the federal government or any private entity, that requires collecting or reporting any types of data in violation of subsection (b).
(d) No state or national student assessment shall be adopted or administered in this state that requires collecting or reporting any types of data in violation of subsection (b).
SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2014, the public welfare requiring it.

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