9.08.2021

Oklahoma State Department of Education Promoting "Anti" Racist Propaganda and Risk Behavior Surveys Through SEL and Counseling Services



After taking a long walk around the Oklahoma State Department of Education on Labor Day, I found that our state's education department is simply chalk full of 'anti-racist', anti-HB1775 (the bill banning CRT) non-educational nonsense that includes invasive behavioral surveys. Here's what you need to know as a parent.
Today I uploaded a PDF version of the Roadmap above. If you open it, you can click on the underlined words and go directly to that item's URL.

Because a number of the URL's linked to the OSDE website were wrong - particularly those pointing to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) - it's best to reach them from that document and not from the OSDE website.

HERE ARE THE ISSUES PARENTS:

1. Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
Our OSDE is absolutely saturated in Social Emotional Learning (To find more information about how bad SEL is for students click here). There are many links on the OSDE website to the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) - funded by many of the people who worked so hard to give us Common Core. CASEL is the creator of SEL the tenets of which derive from a book by Daniel Goleman (a founder of CASEL) called, "Emotional Intelligence". 

While any reasonable person could look at the factors described in Goleman's book and see benefit in working to adjust one's emotions in order to create better social interactions, the problem is a bit harder to discern. SEL is being used in public schools on people who have either no sense of self (in the case of elementary kids) or a very new and wobbly sense of self (in the case of older students). In adults, who have a solid enough knowledge of self to be able to 'self'-regulate, Goleman's methods could work well. In younger children, who haven't yet developed a true sense of self, this method can be confusing and lead to activities in classrooms which create 'group think' and actually work against the development of individual thoughts and responses as children simply mimic what the teacher and/or other students are doing so that they aren't left out. 

SEL methodology is used to create surveys to determine the attitudes and behaviors of students to help determine things like "SchoolClimate"  (discussed below) which can result in curricula or programming that leads students to assume subjectively "appropriate" social goals that might not be the best for their development or that of their family. 

Sadly, under the tab, Evidence-Based Bullying Programs, Curricula and Practice on the OSDE website, are numerous SEL programs including - Second Step - which prompted the resignation of a Utah 7th grade teacher whose resignation letter reads, in part:
Lesson 1 - BLM propaganda is included in the video. I am happy to discuss being just and helping to end suffering. But when the only visual cue given to for the students to consider as the narrator speaks about the hardship of dealing with the “injustice and suffering” in the world is video footage of a Black Lives Matter protest, it is biased; it is propaganda. Propaganda has no place in our schools.
Lesson 2 - From the video in the “video” section of the lesson
1 - Video example promotes students becoming activists and starting campaigns around the school. Activism is loud, pushy, and almost always places people into a closed-mindset. This is counterproductive.
Today, SEL is imbedded in nearly EVERY piece of curricula. It matters not what part of the website you visit, there will be a tool, or resource, or curricula that involves SEL. Truly, this is concerning at best and more than likely educational malpractice. It simply should not continue. (Tulsa Public Schools is a CASEL partner)



Counselors Speak, Resources WestEd, Race and Equity Resources, SEL as a lever for equity and social justice

2. Are School Counselors More Invested In Ideology Than Your Child?
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is a prominent OSDE resource. The OSDE Counselor's Speak newsletter contains links and information for 'anti-racism' resources that would most certainly be illegal under HB1775. In addition, the ASCA is steeped in SEL.

Here's what the ASCA says about "The School Counselor and Anti-Racist Practices".
The ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors (2016) call for school counselors to be systemic change agents who embrace their roles as advocates, leaders and collaborators by providing “equitable educational access and success” (p.1). All educators, especially school counselors, have an obligation to work toward mitigating and/or ending racism and bias (ASCA, 2020) in an effort to lessen the impact of systemic racism on student development.
Please read the ASCA Mindset and Behavior standards promoted in the Counselor's Speak newsletter ask yourself, "Who sets the "standard" for behavior? What is a "standard" for behavior?" 

When the answer is "the school" or "the classroom teacher", there can be no OBJECTIVE, UNIVERSAL standard. This means that what might be wrong for one student, isn't wrong for another student in the quest to determine equity (based on equal outcomes of groups) versus equality (based on individual rights over outcomes). In other words a student might be allowed to behave a certain way because of their race, ethnicity or gender, while other students with another group identification are treated a different way.










3.  Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.
The PPRA (Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment) protects parents from US Department of Education funded surveys, analysis or evaluations that reveal information concerning the behaviors or beliefs of students regarding politics, mental health, sex, illegal, self-incriminating or demeaning behavior. Unfortunately, the OSDE and schools get around the PPRA when they use Youth Risk Behavioral Studies (YRBS) because they come from the CDC and Oklahoma State Health Department - not the USDOE. These are linked in the roadmap under "Data Collection Tools" and here YRBS/CDC, YRBS/State

Please read these. They are administered to middle and high school students in the spring of ODD YEARS, so your child may have gotten one this spring - possibly without you knowing.  (They are found by going to "School Based Prevention Programs" down the page to "Focus Group Tool Kit" down the page to, "Prevention Program Planning Guide" down the page to Task 1 - Data Collection)




One of my daughters was given this 21-page survey when she was enrolled in 7th grade at Belle Isle Middle School in OKC several years ago. I was not informed by the school it would be administered. She told me when she got home that - because I'd told her NOT to take any kind of survey/questionnaire given at school previously - she'd gotten it, turned it face down on the desk and told the teacher she wouldn't take it because her mother told her not to.

These are gross and your children should NOT be subjected to these questions in any way. This is PARENT TERRITORY, not school territory. The school won't stop giving them though, because the CDC LOVES DATA and this data helps schools provide your child programming - outside of an actual education - so PARENT, you'd better make sure your kids never see them by telling them NEVER TO TAKE ANY KIND OF SURVEY/QUESTIONNAIRE given at school without your express, written permission.

4. School Climate Surveys and Screening.
It wasn't until I started clicking through multiple links that I finally found a site to give me some background on the "School Climate" issue. This is from the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act, President Obama's reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act). According to a link I found to the National Association of School Psychologists found here in Self Assessments and Screeners, the ESSA expects schools to collect reams of information on students in order to continue receiving federal funding (we studied this extensively  and helped to create a state law to limit data collection).

Found under the tab of "Using Data in School Climate Teams", the link to this screening tool is found toward the bottom of the page. Do you really want teachers collecting this kind of data on YOUR child? Why? For money?


Unfortunately, the
School Climate Survey produced by the OSDE is not student friendly and REQUIRES (since it is an SDE-funded survey) parental permission in accordance with the PPRA. Here is the survey. Here is an example of an OPT OUT letter created by the OSDE. Have you ever seen an OPT OUT letter come home? It might be of interest to you to go to your Principal and find out when and/or if this School Climate Survey has been given to your child/children.



CLOSING
Literally, with the truly awful NAEP scores recorded for Oklahoma students, no one in education should be doing ANYTHING BUT TEACHING THE BASICS, yet teachers are prompted to do all this data gathering and 'anti-racist' training so schools can get federal School Climate Transformation, Anti-Racist, Equity and SEL grants. Some companies - LIKE SECOND STEP - even help educators fund the use of its program. Face it, it's the tail wagging the dog. Federal law (or policy) creates the need for educational programming which creates a need for schools to buy the programs needed to match federal law (or policy). Quite the scam if you can get in on it, huh? The only problem is there has to be very little actual instruction going on inside classrooms at this point since it's all about programming and buying the 'best' programming.

If you actually take the time to visit the links I've provided here, one thing you'll notice for sure - EVERYTHING IS INTERCONNECTED - CASEL, SEL, Anti-Racist training, Equity - and because everything is interconnected, it will get into your school through one door or another whether that's the school counselor, health class, the 'anti-racist' teacher, or the gung-ho administrator with his hand out for money. You are the only door between your child and the things you may not want them exposed to in an educational setting. Keep it closed by keeping an eye out on everything that goes on in school. Check homework, make appointments with teachers to see what curricula they are using - do what you have to do - and don't forget - THE LAW IS ON YOUR SIDE! Download the Oklahoma Parental Rights law, go over it and use it every chance you have to save the innocence and education of your child.

Jenni White

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