Birth To Billet? Tracking of Mississippi Children Proposed

Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For years many Americans have been concerned. How will the State know that the educational process has been effective? How will “stakeholders” and other “interested parties” such as The Mississippi Department of Human Services know that what outcomes have been produced by all of their efforts? If only there were a law allowing sharing of data among agencies – for the children of course….

Well they shall wonder no longer! In a move designed to trace Mississippians from “Birth to Billet” (my catchy little phrase) all the data needed will be routed through interagency cooperation to create the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS). Who will be involved in this little data collection scheme?

(a) The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE);
(b) The State Board for Community and Junior Colleges (SBCJC)
(c) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of 45 Higher Learning (IHL);
(d) The State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB);
(e) The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES)
(f) The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS)
and
(g) The State Early Childhood Advisory Council (SECAC).

What exactly does the synopsis of HB 608 say?

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STATE LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM (SLDS) TO ESTABLISH A MULTIAGENCY DATABASE TO TRACK EDUCATION AND STUDENT OUTCOMES IN THE WORKFORCE; TO PROVIDE FOR INTERAGENCY COOPERATION WITH THE STATE LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM; TO ESTABLISH A STATE LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM GOVERNING BOARD AND PROVIDE FOR ITS COMPOSITION; TO PRESCRIBE THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE BOARD; TO REQUIRE THAT THE DATA PROVIDED TO THE STATE LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM BE PROVIDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS GOVERNING THE PROTECTION AND SHARING OF DATA; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

It is not until one reads the actual text of HB 608 (pdf) (or this alternative HTML) that one discovers that this Bill is designed to track children from birth to workforce combining multiple databases into one large warehouse of information available to interested parties.

The system shall allow stakeholders and policymakers to access data on state residents from birth to the workforce to drive accountability and investment decisions.

With the states economic woes topping MSM headlines, HB 608 might cost additional monetary unrest one would think. However perusing the text one finds funding already secured – from Federal Department Of Education!

Are parents calling for this intrusive tracking system for their offspring? According to a site referred to as “Parent’s Campaign”, which fully supports the legislation, one would think so. Who is Parent’s Campaign (PC)? I tried using the “About” feature on their site, but no information was available. Poor poor PC is even requesting one to assist in furnishing their office in Jackson, MS. I was able to locate the Founder, Nancy Loome who was lauded in 2005 for:

Leading up to and during the 2005 Legislative Session, Loome worked tirelessly as the parent representative on the Coalition for Children and Public Education. Along with Coalition co-chairs former Gov. William Winter and Jack Reed and other Coalition members, Loome gathered over 140,000 signatures on petitions supporting full funding of education and helped organize the “Step Up for Children” relay that brought the petitions to Jackson and the delivery of the petitions on the steps of the Capitol just days after the session began.

“There is no other parent of my acquaintance who has devoted more effort, spent more time traveling around the state promoting education and been more steadfast in support of the adequate funding of our school,” wrote Winter in his letter in support of her nomination. “Nancy Loome is one of our state’s most valuable citizen leaders, who has defined the role of parent involvement in the support of the children of our state as well as it can be defined.”

As PTA president, Loome implemented several new programs, including a Volunteer Reader Program, in which she solicited volunteers and developed lists for 32 classes, Breezeway Monitors, in which she scheduled daily volunteers for monitoring of a breezeway area during morning arrival, and Read Across America, in which she invited then-Governor Ronnie Musgrove, Clinton Mayor Rosemary Aultman, and District Superintendent Dr. Tommye Henderson, to read to classes at Clinton Park Elementary School. Each celebrity reader was presented a framed reproduction of the school T-shirt artwork signed by the students to whom they read.

Loome’s volunteer work with her school has been recognized by numerous organizations, including The Mississippi Association of Educators Friend of Education Award, Clinton Public School District Friend of Education Award, Mississippi Association of School Superintendents’ Recognition for Service to Education, the Mississippi PTA Legislative Advocate of the Year Award and the Mississippi Association of Educators A+ Award for Excellence in Education.

On almost every Public Education website, one finds the referral back to the “Parent’s Campaign” site. Here is just one of many examples:

PARENT’S CAMPAIGN

Better Schools    Brighter Future

The Parents’ Campaign is a nonprofit, grassroots network of over 50,000 parents and citizens who are committed to improving Mississippi’s public education system.

The Parents’ Campaign is not affiliated with any political party or any other education association. The Parents’ Campaign does not endorse or “grade” legislators.

The only goal of The Parents’ Campaign is to ensure a quality education for all Mississippi children.


I just wonder if every one of those parents understands and supports the tracking of their child in hope of a better future? Does Parent’s Campaign understand the intrusive nature of this legislation?

With over 500,000 K-12 students in Mississippi, surely there must be some parents who are not either aware of the Legislation or do not understand the personal freedoms that will be surrendered if HB 608 passes. A pattern of digital tracking to “ensure” that if “help” is needed – it will be offered.

If you believe that this is a NIB, I’d love to tell you to contact the Senate Education Committee as HB 608 has already passed through the House. The problem is – the database currently lists the 2010 Committee and it would do no good.

Kind of ironic.

In this case I might contact the Sponsor of the Bill Representative Cecil Brown, additional Representative Authors/Co-Sponsors follow: Joe C. Garner, Alyce G. Clark, Omeria Scott, and Bryant W. Clark