Tag Archives: Head Start/Early Head Start

Your Children Belong to the Government via their Personal Data. The Holy Grail of Education Realized?

by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog

Do you like your data being shared on Facebook?  No?  Then why is it permissible for the Federal Government to track your child from birth and this information shared with various agencies and private researchers?  Does your family belong to the government?  Should the Federal Government establish educational policies and mandates for states to accomplish this data tracking?  From Portals, Dashboards and Universal IDs: Improving Early Ed Data:

States around the country have big plans to improve the collection and coordination of data on young children, including data dashboards, scorecards and tools for tracking the well-being of children from the day they are born. But how — and if —  these plans turn into reality depends on whether they can win support from federal  grants, state funds or private philanthropy, according to a report released today by the Early Childhood Data Collaborative.

The Collaborative’s analysis starts by pointing out that timely, reliable data is scarce, with policymakers often unable to get answers to basic questions on the number of children participating in high-quality programs. In fact, as we reported last week, it’s even difficult to get comprehensive information at the local level on the number of children participating in pre-K programs or gaining access to full-day kindergarten at all, let alone whether they are enrolled in classrooms or centers that meet a high bar for quality.

The report spotlights several ideas states have put forward to improve the ability to link data between databases and enable the tracking of individual children’s progress over time, across multiple providers of child care, preschool and, in places where links are made to K-12 education data, to the public school system.

 Rhode Island, for example, plans to build a universal database that includes data on individual children starting at birth. It proposes to build on its public health data system called KIDSNET that tracks immunizations and data from newborn screenings and connect that data to the statewide longitudinal data system for K-12 education.  Rhode Island is a triple winner – winning an RTT-ELC grant, a K-12 Race to the Top grant and a competitive grant from the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program – so it may actually have the dollars to bring this kind of longitudinal database to fruition.

Other innovations revolve around the creation of portals or dashboards. Minnesota, for example, proposed the creation of a web-based dashboard that can create reports tailored for different audiences of parents, administrators and teachers. Pennsylvania wants to develop a “provider scorecard” that includes data on individual preschool and child care providers, such as how many stars they have earned in the state’s quality improvement and rating system (Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), the credentials of members of the workforce and data on  children’s growth and development.

I submit Rhode Island is NOT a winner, but a state totally owned by the Federal Government in the educational delivery for its state citizens.  Is establishing a “longitudinal database to fruition” the Holy Grail in education reform?  We at MEW believe the implementation of data systems IS the key to establishing a managed workforce and circumvents the fundamental right of Americans to pursue their individual paths, rather than a life path mapped out by government/private businesses based on personal data from birth.

Understand the doublespeak from the article above:

  • “it’s even difficult to get comprehensive information at the local level on the number of children participating in pre-K programs or gaining access to full-day kindergarten at all, let alone whether they are enrolled in classrooms or centers that meet a high bar for quality” means private centers may be subject to government’s “high bar for quality” (common core must be used in private businesses for a high rating)
  • “…ideas states have put forward to improve the ability to link data between databases and enable the tracking of individual children’s progress over time, across multiple providers of child care,”means again, the intrusion of common core standards/assessments into private child care delivery
  •  “Pennsylvania wants to develop a “provider scorecard” that includes data on individual preschool and child care providers, such as how many stars they have earned in the state’s quality improvement and rating system (QRIS), the credentials of members of the workforce and data on  children’s growth and development” again means a group intent on a managed workforce will decide if private preschool and child care providers will be credentialed based on common core standards and assessments
  • “…reliable data is scarce, with policymakers often unable to get answers to basic questions on the number of children participating in high-quality programs” raises the concern, “who/what is determining what a “high-quality program” is? The government?  Is the belief a pre-school must follow common core assessments/standards to be deemed high quality?  Why does the government need to track pre-K programs when most states don’t even mandate education for children until the age of 6 or 7?

Why does the government want to track your child from birth?  Do you know where this information will be stored or who will have access to personal information?  Even if you buy into the idea “the government is here to help you”, understand the assistance is whatever the government  deigns to provide your child.  But what’s even worse, the government will decide if private organizations will receive it’s coveted “stars” via QRIS and if your child’s growth and development fits its needs for the workforce.

Here are two goals from a 2009 document (An Actionable Federal Framework to Promote QRIS in the States)detailing how the federal government can and should force states to adopt a nationalized system of education in state public schools and private schools and the establishment of data systems to track children from birth:

The requirement that states establish a QRIS, as well as funding and supports targeted to this purpose, should be included in all federal legislation, rule or regulation that authorizes, funds or creates early care and education programs or initiatives. This would include, but is not limited to, the following: the proposed Early Learning Challenge Fund, the state Early Childhood Advisory Councils, the Child Care and Development Fund, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, ESEA Title I, Head Start/Early Head Start, the State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems initiative, early intervention (IDEA), and family support initiatives. Such action at the federal level will model for and support the states in their effort to align their early care and education policy, funding and systems in a collaborative manner around a core set of agreed upon program standards.

The Child Care Bureau and the Department of Education should jointly prepare a biennial “State of QRIS” report that includes data on state QRIS systems and participation levels. In addition to information on state QRIS standards and how they align with national benchmarks, the report should include, at a minimum, data on:
• the proportionate level of participation, at each quality level, of each type of ECE  provider in the state (including regulated center-and home-based child care programs, public and private preschools, programs that receive Head Start funding and programs that provide early intervention services)

Why doesn’t QRIS establish a goal that children should be chipped at birth?  It probably would be more cost effective and less labor intensive.  If a child has no right to privacy, then let’s go ahead and get that child connected to the government from day one with a tracking chip.  What’s the difference between what the QRIS currently recommends vs tracking a child via an internal chip?

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Filed under Data Systems, National Standards (Common Core)