Today’s “Riddle Me This” is geared toward finding the connecting ties between the federal overreach in education, the students, families, CCSS, 21st Century Community Centers, and more.
“Now is the Time” Initiative:
So as not to confuse you, the full title for Project AWARE is “Now is the Time” Project AWARE. I make a point to share this so that when you go to conduct a general search you can get straight to the initiative that is special to education. There are many “Project Aware” groups already out there. Each with a different purpose, but not for what we focus on today.
The U.S. federal agency the Project is housed in is the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) Website: http://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sm-14-018, according to this particular page of SAMHSA, the entire goal is,
“The purpose of the NITT-AWARE-SEA Cooperative Agreement program is to build and expand the capacity of State Educational Agencies to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth, provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues in children and young adults, and connect children, youth, and families who may have behavioral health issues with appropriate services. The intent of NITT-AWARE-SEA is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated program for advancing wellness and resilience in educational settings for school-aged youth.” Now, before we go a bit further..ask yourselves..with all the meltdowns our students are having as a result of Common Core, with all the efforts to cut out parents, who will be the ones determining what is and isn’t a behavior issue? What guidelines are used in determining ‘resilience’?
The pdf document behind it all is from the White House and titled “Now is the Time: The President’s Plan to Protect our Children and Communities from Gun Violence”. Released in 2013 just after Sandy Hook (see: wh_now_is_the_time_full) From within the document, not only will data collection be a key component, but the Centers for Disease Control will be awarded research funds to study the ties between video games, multimedia images and violence, that is IF Congress gives the okay for $10 million to do so. Then, there’s this aspect, “Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms, especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses or if they have a young child or mentally ill family member at home. Some have incorrectly claimed that language in the Affordable Care Act prohibits doctors from asking their patients about guns and gun safety.”
Let me pause us here to ask a couple of questions. Have we not seen an increase in the violation of privacy not only at schools but also at the doctor’s office? If the agenda for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers continues on, who’s to say which group of people will be consider the ‘other health care providers’? What about the increase in digital dependency for learning? Who know what images are seen by the students.
Another key component to the “Now is the Time” is the presence of even more school resource personnel (including mental health professionals AND counselors trained to offer a nurturing environment. You may be asking, well, what’s so questionable about this? What am I trying to get you to see? Well, through the scope of CCSS, the agenda that goes with it, two things. First, the nurturing of a child is a parental responsibility NOT a school’s. Second, with all the CCSS training, purposeful alignment school counselors are receiving, I have to wonder about the presence of MORE personnel..especially in the name of ‘safety’s sake’. Now, please do NOT misunderstand me. I realize there are children who need extra support and that’s great, however, we shouldn’t be adding non-school related services to a school environment. But, then again when you are trying to align a community to the ‘cradle to career’ or even ‘cradle to grave’ mindset, you gotta do what you gotta do. (If you’ve not read my published post about school guidance counselors being aligned to CCSS, please see: https://www.commoncorediva.com/2014/10/10/fridays-post-breaking-news-you-need-to-know/)
This report continues on with all kinds of federal agencies, federal funds, and federal plans to ensure how schools will be safe. Why are the local districts, states, and citizens marginalized? The states are sovereign, NOT the federal government! You’ll need to read the report to see which federal level agencies are a part of this.
According to this report, mental health patients need to be identified early. I’m all for that, as the parent of two bipolar students, I know mental health is important. However, it’s the WAY the students are to be treated, and by whom, I’m most concerned about. Why? Read this excerpt, “Project AWARE includes $15 million for training for teachers and other adults who interact with youth to detect and respond to mental illness in children and young adults.” The phrase coined was “Mental Health First Aid” and teachers would be the respondents. Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t want my bipolar children diagnosed or treated for their issues by a teacher, I expect a trained, licensed bipolar specialist to help them. The teachers should be teaching! Teachers can’t teach what they need to because CCSS limits them, but they can become mental health care givers?! How will this happen? We’ll have to see, but I can tell you the report shares not long after teachers becoming first aid givers for mental health that MORE money to train MORE health care personnel is in the plan as well. It even shares how the Secretaries of Education and Health/Human Services are the ones guiding the conversations. Seriously?! Finally, on the subject of mental health in our young people, the Affordable Health Care will expand who’s covered, how much is covered in mental health services.
Back to Project AWARE:
If you go back to the website about the Grant announcements for Project AWARE, you’ll see more data mining, sharing..all in the name of schools, education, and a well balanced student. “It can assist by expanding state capacity to collect and utilize population data in order to develop and implement science informed policies and programs in schools and communities to ensure comprehensive approaches to create safe and supportive schools that address the mental health needs of young people. This will also include broadening efforts to coordinate and integrate across service systems including education, mental health, juvenile justice and law enforcement and supporting the development of approaches to integrate state and local comprehensive plans for infrastructure, services, and supports focused on the well-being and healthy development of children, youth, and young adults.” You’ll also see an expansion from not just a federal level, but state levels to be authorized to train lay people, have LEAs receive more money, authority! How is this being ushered in? Those ESEA documents! See the excerpt below:
“State Educational Agencies (SEAs) as defined by section 9101(41) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; and applicants for this grant announcement are required to also apply for the ED SEA School Climate Transformation grant.”
So, just what does the “AWARE” mean in Project AWARE? ‘Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education’
How does my school district get this money? Through your state board of education. Here’s an example, I found when I typed in ‘Project AWARE Common Core’ in my search bar. An announcement from Illinois. You’ll need to click on the picture below to see the press release from 10/14:
Another example? From MN, a blog post that features anti CC warrior Dr. Karen Effrem discussing Project AWARE, CCSS, and students. See: http://ppjg.me/2014/07/09/minnesota-schools-common-core-and-mental-health/
Yet another example comes from the CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights, St. Louis, MO) back in 2013, “As a result of psychiatric and psychological intervention in schools, harmful behaviorist programs and psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs now decimate our schools. These programs have trampled on the rights and roles of parents and have provided society with rising crime, drug abuse and suicide rates. Contact your local, state and federal representatives and let them know what you think about turning our schools into mental health clinics and turning our children into mental health patients.” The group encourages you to check out their pdf about the dangers of schools being turned into mental health clinics. (see: http://www.cchrstl.org/education.shtml#) Here’s just a small quote from the introduction to the PDF, “According to educators, academic, knowledge–based curricula has been jettisoned in favor of psychology that places the emotions and belief systems above educational outcomes.”
Here’s what the U.S. Dept of Ed had to say: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-invests-more-70-million-improve-school-climate-and-keep-
While you’re at the Dept of Ed website, type in the full name of AWARE (advancing wellness and resilience in education in their search bar and just look at the descriptors you get in the results). You’ll see the goal is more about transforming what a school offers, what it does than how well it educates.
Since one of the goals to an aligned community is turning your school into a 21st Century Community Learning Center. Project AWARE is just one key to doing this. Here’s a related resource for you to also consider that will help transform your school into a 21CCLC. http://www.expandinglearning.org/sites/default/files/em_articles/2_upgradingafterschool.pdf
So, my fellow anti CCSS friends, did we solve the riddle today? Should we be watchful of Project AWARE? Absolutely! I hope you’ve found some useful information to help you uncover where Project AWARE is in your school’s plan. Have a story about the Project you’d like to share? Please do!! We must help each other gain awareness about the back doors groups, funds, and those with a CCSS, ‘cradle to grave’ mindset have.