by Eileen | 2:44 pm, January 29, 2013 | Comments Off
WHAT: SB 13-071, Mandating unique identifiers for GED seekers
WHY: Federal education dollars
Evie Hudak is listed on the legislative website as an ‘educator’ – and, if I could get past the fear that she might unhinge her jaw and swallow me whole, I’d ask her just what she thinks that job entails. Myself, I have never considered monitoring students and monetizing their private information to be the foci of education. Sen. Hudak, however, runs bills aimed at providing more data to the state and securing more funding…to continue doing whatever the hell our public schooling system does.
Scrolling through her key votes in her legislative tenure, she’s never said ‘Nay’ to a tax hike and has a lousy record on privacy. I don’t think she’s explicitly anti-privacy. Because I don’t think she considers that proposed laws have implications in many areas, let alone carefully ruminates on what all those trade-offs mean. I think she’s a government type who knows that having data on citizens means money for the state. Like many of her political ilk, I think she’s easily boiled down to woman who will always take the path that gives the most money to the state.
Alright, so we find ourselves dealing with a proposal that anyone seeking a GED who does not already have a unique identifier with the state must be given one. As GED seekers are going to have a proportionately higher number of individuals who fell through the cracks early on, never got into school, or are seeking a GED after entering the country as an adult, this could be quite a few people.
And I fail to see how that would improve the number of people who earn their GED, or, more to the point, lessen the number of students who fail to complete high school proper. If the teacher can assign a grade to a student and create an academic transcript, that’s identifier enough. Something that allows bureaucrats to follow an individual through the maze of state services seems calculated to benefit a lot of people, but not actual GED seekers.
I am sure it would take several thousand words to list all the agencies and programs providing money to the state to offer GEDs, so being able to deliver lots and lots of datapoints is certainly in the interest of the people chasing down funding.
I know that someone who has, as yet, not even completed high school is probably one of the few souls around not already well represented in the readily available datasets. I salute such rogues. The state wants to chase them down and start generating data points.
And I worry over the economic aspect of this. Low income and low education people get the short end of the state’s burgeoning surveillance apparatus. They are more reliant on government provided services and technology, leaving no realistic choice but to submit to the surveiling that comes with that. They are also less aware of rights to opt out of request to what data are held about them and are certainly at a loss when it comes to knowing the easy and free steps they can take to protect themselves.
(Ahem, PPC’s privacy classes. Just sayin’)
For Colorado to take people they couldn’t even get through high school and decide they need a statute to monitor those people strikes me as a lousy deal. I’m aware it’s simply dragging GED seekers down to level of public high school grads who will have already been entered into more than a few systems. But I would prefer to address that with better privacy for traditional students.
On that note, I think you can a lot about a person based on whether her ideal solution is to level-up or level down. Progressivism is leveling down as a frickin’ dogma.
Of course, Sen. Hudak and Rep. Fields are likely doing this in the name of getting more federal dollars. But it cannot have escaped their attention that the bill has privacy implications. For thing, creating valuable datasets and effectively selling them to the Department of Education for funding is the mechanism, here. As Sen. Hudak chairs the Senate Education Committee, where the bill will be first heard, SB 071 has a good chance of making it at least through the first round.
I am so damn glad I was able to stay out of the clutches of the state’s education machine. I wish there were better privacy protections for those not so blessed.
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