‘Tech Thursday’ is the day I usually focus on the overreach in education to the post-secondary level. Today is no exception. If you have followed me for a while, you know I have consistently laid out the evidence and resources so you can follow the CCSS Machine’s march from high school and beyond.
So what can I share with you today? A look inside the transcripts-turned-credentials for our students under the guise of quality education.
Parchment Transcript Services (PTS):
I first heard of PTS, from a dedicated anti CCSS Warrior who is doing much work to protect student data. We know how much is collected, shared, sold, and used against our students, so naturally finding a school (or State) which uses PTS is worth knowing more about.
The website: http://www.parchment.com/
The advertised mission: “Parchment’s mission is to turn credentials into opportunities. We help learners, educators, associations and employers securely send and receive education credentials online, in simple and insightful ways.”
The zippy 2 minute sales pitch:
Did you notice how hidden in plain sight the data mining is? Did you see who shares it, has access to it? Did you notice the use of the fallacy tactic known as ‘Bandwagon’? (bandwagon is where you are enticing to do what everyone else is doing so you don’t miss out) Something tells me there is much more to find out about!
The Folks in Charge:
CEO, Dr. Matthew Pittinsky is certainly connected to the CCSS Machine. How can I know this before we even go any further? Two clues: Blackboard and ASU (AZ State University) I have written before about both. To see what else he is doing connected to the transformation of post-secondary education: http://www.parchment.com/matthew-pittinsky/
(*Note: his short video reveals how he feels about data mining.)
Other Leading members include former members of other CCSS Machine member organizations, like Learn.com; there are other former Blackboard personnel; non-profit education advocacy; former military; Honeywell; ISU (Iowa State University); and global education IT (information technology.)
To find out more: http://www.parchment.com/leadership/ (*Note: be sure to check out the Board of Directors. You will find even more ties to the CCSS Machine.)
Since Parchment deals with student data, we need to know who they work with in the sharing. Two of the biggest CCSS Machine members which jumped of the page? Herff Jones and Pearson Power School! There are others, as well. See all the partners:
While Pearson’s membership in the CCSS Machine is known extensively, I will share with you how Herff Jones is also a member.
Most folks think of high school class rings and high school yearbooks when they hear Herff Jones, but the company is more embedded than you know. See:
http://www.socialstudies.com/pdf/CommonCore_SS.pdf (look for footnotes #5, 8, and 9)
Related is my in-depth look at the C3 Social Studies where you will see CCSS, post-secondary CCSS, and global agenda intersect:
From the Herff Jones yearbook information, this excerpt, “It’s easy to see how yearbook aligns with the Common Core’s emphasis on research, reflection and revision, and the four C’s touted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity) are naturally a part of the yearbook process. Talk about cross-disciplinary learning!”
To see the rest:
How the Service Works on a Local Level:
From the parent of a Senior (Class of 2016), this personal account. “Seniors are required to state what college or university they will attend. All final transcripts will be sent electronically through Parchment. You must sign up via their website before graduation. After graduation, you will be charged $8.50 per transcript. My student must contact their Career Center Counselor/Office for more information.” This parent goes on to share that the Parchment presence in school is a school district promoted decision. Supposedly the only data collected isn’t too personal, but we Warriors know ANY data about our students is up for grabs! Parchment’s service also has you answer on-line questions for specific schools you might want to attend to see IF you can become a qualified applicant.
What I found out about the transcripts is that each is given a unique code (DID or Document Identity Number). For students to access or verify if their information has been transmitted or received, they must use that DID. Hmm.. think UID (Unique Identifier Number) currently used for all those assessments your students think. We have evidence how ‘secure’ those are! If you would like to know, Parchment stands by the FERPA policies (again, we know how FERPA was weakened to allow MORE data mining!) Check out all their related topics:
Parchment’s latest Press Release shares more about the data collection/sharing. This particular Release details the State of Georgia’s partnership:
“Parchment, a leading academic credential management service, works with more than 65 high schools and 72 college admissions offices across Georgia to create a robust network that helps to simplify the college application process for Georgia learners. By delivering and processing electronic credentials with Parchment, member schools are breaking down barriers in the college access process. For more than a decade, Parchment has worked with high schools and colleges across the United States to aid in the application process, making academic credentials, like high school transcripts, digital, often resulting in more timely admissions decisions. Schools in Georgia have already begun to improve efficiencies, provide transparency to learners and reduce overall costs by partnering with Parchment, following the success many other states have long used to their advantage. In 2015, Georgia high schools relied on Parchment to exchange more than 41,000 digital credentials, an increase of 48 percent over the previous year. “Parchment has enabled our students and parents to expedite the college application process by sending transcripts electronically to almost any school across the nation,” said Tessa Barbazon, Coordinator, Office of School Counseling with Fulton County School District. “In addition, the tracking tools available to students through Parchment fill a gap in communication that can exist when less advanced services are utilized.” The Fulton County School District is comprised of 18 high schools with 94,000 students.” (see the entire Press Release: http://www.parchment.com/press-releases/parchment-provides-georgia-students-with-improved-college-access/)
While all looks secure, there are a few things to note:
1) Parchment sends you information they think you want based on how you answered those qualifying questions.
2) Data is shared with ANY partner or group designated as an Academic Institution. While this may look like it means schools, remember the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) and the current version of the HEA (Higher Education Act) include the academic institutions in a much broader context. (*Note: the current HEA even embeds the use of Digital Promise as the data collection method on all students. Also, the ESSA has Digital Promise funding INCREASED embedded in the language.)
3) Note the Asset Transfer clause. Even your parents information about finances is up for all to see (or at least whomever Parchment deems worthy of knowing.)
I thank the parent who shared their story. Our anti CCSS War Against the Core, is made so much stronger when these brave men and women speak up. I hope this information has caused you to question much when it comes to the transformed high school to post-secondary school state we find ourselves in. While we must champion our students data (and ours as well). we must investigate every company we can. Since it appears the school districts are promoting and choosing this, make sure you let your district know your concerns!
Other Previously Exposed High School Credentialing/Transforming Articles:
From 11/15, a compendium of information on the subject: https://www.commoncorediva.com/2015/11/12/tech-thursday-update-on-ccsscte-for-adults/
From 05/15, a look at reducing our students to gold, silver, bronze worthy:
From 01/15, a 3 part look at those credentialing either our students or post-secondary learning institutions:
a) https://www.commoncorediva.com/2015/01/28/wybi-wednesday-ice-chilling-our-education/ (USA specific)
b) https://www.commoncorediva.com/2015/01/27/ftf-tuesday-iassc-universal-certification/ (International Credentials)
c) https://www.commoncorediva.com/2015/01/26/monday-musing-an-interview-you-must-hear/ (will reveal some hidden places you need to look for where credentials are needed)