Breitbart Texas reported on Aug. 30, 2014 that the national non-profit, public interest law firm, Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), released an opt-out form for parents in a response to the data mining associated with Common Core (CC). The firm is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for TMLC, made the following statements about the data mining associated with Common Core and opting out of standardized testing:
"The opt-out form is based on the constitutionally recognized fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children and on federal statutes which were designed to protect student privacy…" and "Our Founding Fathers recognized the danger to our freedoms posed by centralized control over public education. We must ever keep in mind, 'The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will become the philosophy of the government in the next..” and "Clearly, Common Core is a threat to individual privacy and liberty, and to our Constitutional Republic.”
Oklahoma, Missouri and other states have decided to ditch their commitment to Common Core in light of recent teacher concerns. Texas, has no plans to adopt Common Core although the opt-out form was designed for Texas parents. Arkansas is committed to the CC standards and the state will implement PARCC testing for the 2014-2015 school year. The Home School Legal Defense Association is determined to challenge the CC standards as the organization is opposed to establishing a national curriculum.
Why should parents opt out of data collection? The law that used to protect parents, FERPA or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, has been gutted. In order to receive grants from the Race to the Top initiative, states have changed their data collection software and databases. A total of 400 data points are now being collected. The new databases and software are amazingly similar across the states. This enables the Federal Government to access data at the individual level and sell it to third parties without parent consent.
Parents can use the opt-out form to inform schools which, if any, data they wish to schools to collect on their children. Currently, 40 states have committed to Common Core. There is a disclaimer on the form which states that parents should consult with legal counsel prior to using the forms if they live outside of Texas.