"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Monday, February 25, 2013

Database: What Information is there on Your Child?

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, our board professional development will be on the use of data and how that relates to Common Core.  At 4pm at Mountain View High School, I will be leading the discussion, based on the 2009 speech from Secretary Arne Duncan.  You can read it here

You need to understand that as part of the 2009 ARRA Stimulus money, the Federal Department of Education created grants for each and every state to set up a Statewide Longitudinal Database (SLDS).  Essentially, this database allows each individual child to be tracked from preschool through work and every stage in between (that's what longitudinal means).  Utah's database was praised in this speech by Sec. Duncan, as follows:

The Data Quality Campaign, DQC, lists 10 elements of a good data system. Six states, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, and Utah, have all 10 elements. Other states are also making progress. For example, Arkansas has a data warehouse that integrates school fiscal information, teacher credentials, and student coursework, assessments, and even extracurricular activities.[emphasis mine]

As part of the these grants, "[t]he system must facilitate and enable the exchange of data among agencies and institutions within the State and between States so that data may be used to inform policy and practice." (pp.4)

A few more pieces of information for those who are interested:

Effective, Jan. 3, 2012, the US Dept of Education modified its regulations dealing with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, originally enacted by Congress in 1974). If you like, you may read the changes from the Federal Register here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/html/2011-30683.htm.  Arguably, these changes violate Utah's version of the FERPA law, as well.

An organization called EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) has filed a lawsuit against the US Government regarding these changes by the Dept of Ed. http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

The National Education Data Model has proposed the information contained at this site be included in any educational database: http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary Obviously, we can choose to populate the information or not, but it is important to know this is what is being suggested.

Finally, I just received a link from an out-of-state friend on this publication from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (wiche) of which Utah is a member.  It is entitled "Framework for a Multi-State Human Capital Development Data System".  (No, that Orwellian name really is the title of the paper.)  I am happy to know that our children are reduced to "the stock and flow of human capital".  The conclusion states, in part:

A multi-state data exchange – what we have chosen to call a human capital development data system – that enables policymakers to look comprehensively at the stock and flow of human capital has become essential for effective policymaking and planning in the globalized knowledge economy.

The security of our students' data and parental oversight in the sharing of this data is one of my highest priorities.  As those responsible for watching over our school district, it is our responsibility, as a board, to take great care to protect this information.  Since data protection was one of the issues from our board priority discussion that received high marks, I think it is appropriate for you to be aware of the concerns I have with this database.

Oak Canyon JH Boundary Changes
The only action item for the Board Meeting will be the proposed boundary changes to Oak Canyon Junior High in Pleasant Grove. 

Everyone is welcome to attend the study session at 4pm, as it is a public meeting.  No comments will be taken at this time.  Public comments are always welcome at the 6pm formal board meeting.