Saturday, October 26, 2013

Superintendent Alarmed About Student Privacy...BOE votes to opt out of RTTT

 The following is part of a memorandum sent by a superintendent of schools  to employees in his school district. In it he expresses his concerns about student privacy risks in light of the massive collection of confidential student data by NYS. He writes...

"I am very proud to report that...our Board of Education took a stand against sharing student data with third party vendors.  The Board unanimously approved a resolution to withdraw our district from the Race to the Top and thereby enabled us to opt of selecting a required data dashboard that would house student data. (emphasis added)

 The result of this resolution is that the district forfeits the final $2500 of RTTT* money that we use to support our APPR work, but more importantly it sends a clear message to the State Education Department that our student data must be protected locally. (emphasis added) Unfortunately, this action does not release us from any of the other state mandates.

Yesterday over 60 Superintendents and school administrators met with SED RTTT representatives.  For over two hours, the SED group was questioned about RTTT and student data collection.  Clearly they heard that, in this region of the state, we are not happy and want a delay of implementation and review of all state mandates.  The press has been contacted and there should be an article coming out shortly with more details."                                                                

The "region of the state" mentioned above is Westchester County. What is being done in other regions of NYS? For instance, in the North Country...
  • Are superintendents publicly voicing concerns about risks to student privacy brought about by the extraordinary amount of student data being shared with third party vendors? 
  • Are Boards of Education discussing this issue publicly at Board meetings and informing the public of risks to student privacy? 
  • Do Board of Education believe student data should be protected locally?
  • Are Boards of Education and superintendents lobbying the Commissioner and the Board of Regents to do something about this important issue?
The Commissioner of Education is going to school districts in other parts of the state to discuss this and other compelling matters. Maybe he should be invited to visit at least one North Country public school so teachers and the public can share their concerns.

*Note: Race to the Top (RTTT) refers to the $700 million in federal competitive grants that were offered to states. Among other things, APPR (teacher and principal evaluation) had to be implemented and student academic growth, as shown on mandated tests, had to be a significant part of employment decisions. 

No comments:

Post a Comment