Portrait of a Graduate: The Story Behind State-Designed Student Sameness

Parents need to know that Portrait of a Graduate is a national program created by an Ohio-based company called Battelle for Kids

Portrait of a Graduate is being used to fundamentally transform the purpose of US education—shifting curriculum, assessment, school accountability and data collection away from academics and towards Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

Battelle for Kids was created by Battelle, an applied science and technology company that uses technology to track behaviors. The program was incentivized through policies and grants in the 2015 federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (which replaced No Child Left Behind). These policies are an extension of Common Core reforms. Some of Battelle’s strategic partners that direct states’ adoption of Portrait of a Graduate are CASEL, Aurora Institute, ExcelinEd and KnowledgeWorks. Each of these companies is working towards mass data collection of children’s values, attitudes and behaviors with a company called the Data Quality Campaign.

The Data Quality Campaign was instrumental in developing states’ State Longitudinal Data Systems. So, Portrait of a Graduate is, essentially, a program to expand Utah’s State Longitudinal Data System and start tracking children into all sorts of social services including health services and into the workforce. In the final scheme of things, Portrait of a Graduate is the backbone for Social Credit Scoring and ESG scores for children.

KnowledgeWorks is a Gates-funded organization (also based in Ohio) that the Utah State School Board has paid to facilitate districts’ adoption of Battelle’s SEL framework. (The stage for this has already been set through Utah’s pilot programs and legislation for Competency-Based Education with “competencies” aligned to those in Portrait of a Graduate). Local teachers are brought into the process to determine competencies, but only for show. In actuality, they are being shifted into becoming facilitators of the SEL system and, overtime, the entire system will be geared toward SEL.

Here are some resources:

  • In the Utah State School Board’s (USBE) February 2021 Guide to Education Flexibility, they give Utah’s historic overview of the adoption of Portrait of a Graduate. Pages 1-59 detail the USBE’s work with ExcelinEd to get Utah to start replacing state standards with global competencies through a whole new system of education called Global Competency-Based Learning.

    Pages 60-87 detail the next shift into Portrait of a Graduate.

  • On page 19 of this Utah State School Board document, you will see a slide graphic that talks about “Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Values, Competencies and Action.” This means they want kids to be competent to “take action” for Social Justice. This is a graphic that the Board has used to sell Utah on Portrait of a Graduate: 

The Future of Education and Skills: OECD Education 2030 Framework as depicted in Utah P-20 Competencies Bringing Utah’s Portrait of a Graduate to Life June 2020
  • PISA has been used to drive nations and states into the adoption of assessments for Social Emotional Learning (values, attitudes and behaviors). In fact, they drive the entire market for assessment and have used technology reforms and policies to get states using online, computer-adaptive curriculum embedded with SEL assessments. In the OECD’s 2016 white paper, Global Competency for an Inclusive World, it states:

The skills, attitudes and values that shape human behaviour should be rethought, to counter the discriminatory behaviours picked up at school and in the family.

On page 2, you can find that quote and the same graphic that the Utah State Board of Education is using:

The Future of Education and Skills: OECD Education 2030 Framework

If you’ve followed the evidence laid out to this point, there are three aspects that should be patently apparent about Portrait of a Graduate:

  • Portrait of a Graduate programs are not locally originated, or even community driven. Its vision and purpose are empirically aligned with globalist social change agendas promoted by various organizations.
  •  The social change agendas promoted by Portrait of a Graduate programs include Social Emotional LearningDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Social Justice activism.
  • Portrait of a Graduate informs and tracks student knowledge, attitudes, and dispositions through a tech-based, data-driven framework that deprives children of their privacy and autonomy in the name of “21st Century success.”