Fact-Checking Associate UT Superintendent Judy Park on Nonacademic Data Collection   9 comments

Once again it seems necessary, unfortunately, to provide a fact-checking rebuttal to statements made by Utah’s Associate Superintendent Judy Park about student data privacy.

In a letter given out to parents of children attending a St. George charter school recently, Judy Park was quoted at length.  Park, the Associate Superintendent of Utah, made the following statements that will be scrutinized here with links to opposing evidence.

In that letter, Ms. Park  wrote:

“The advocates of anti-common core are falsely accusing USOE and schools and districts of collecting and storing data that is “behavioral data and non-academic personal information”.  They have no real evidence or examples to support this claim…” 

Here’s evidence to the contrary, Ms. Park.

1.  First, there are Utah laws about standardized tests requiring the testing of behavioral indicators.  One law, HB15, created in 2012, that requires the collection of behavior indicators calls for ” the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance” as part of the testing.   This is Utah’s S.A.G.E. –aka Common Core or A.I.R.– test.  But another law  (HB177) has been requiring, from the 2002-03 school year on, “the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance.” Since 2002!

2. Utah has paid at least $39 million to the AIR company to write its Common Core-aligned standardized tests:  American Institutes for Research”s  mission:  “AIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation…

Are we to believe that although AIR’s purpose is to test behavioral and social indicators, and although Utah laws say that the test must note behavioral indicators, the AIR test still won’t?

3. Utah’s SLDS grant application talks about authorizing de-identification of data for research and says that individuals will be authorized to access personal student information in the various Utah agencies that belong to UDA. (Who are these individuals?  Why does the UDA trust them with information that parents weren’t even told was being gathered on our children?)

Starting at page 87 on that same SLDS federal application, we read how non-cognitive behaviors that have nothing to do with academics, will be collected and studied by school systems.  These include “social comfort and integration, academic conscientiousness, resiliency, etc.” to be evaluated through the psychometric census known as the “Student Strengths Inventory. (SSI)”  That SSI inventory –my child’s psychological information– will be integrated into the system (SLDS).  Nonacademic demographic and other personal information is also captured while administering the test. SSI data will be given to whomever it is assumed, by the so-called leadership, that needs to see it.  (This should be a parental decision but has become a state decision.)

The SLDS grant promises to integrate psychological data into the state database.   “Utah’s Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance programs have substantial Student Education Occupation Plan, (SEOP) data, but they are not well integrated with other student data. With the introduction of UtahFutures and the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) and its focus on noncognitive data, combining such data with other longitudinal student level data to the USOE Data Warehouse the UDA.”  It also says:

“… psychosocial or noncognitive factors… include, but are not limited to educational commitment, academic engagement and conscientiousness, social comfort and social integration, academic self-efficacy, resiliency…  Until recently, institutions had to rely on standardized cognitive measures to identify student needs. … We propose to census test all current student in grades 11 and 12 and then test students in grade 11 in subsequent years using the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) – a measure of noncognitive attitudes and behaviors.”  So the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) is a “psychometric census” to be taken by every 11th and 12th grade student in Utah.  That’s one way they’re gathering the psychological data.

4.  Ms. Park herself is a key player and even a writer for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) –the organization that co-created and co-copyrighted Common Core.  This makes me fairly confident that you are aware of what the CCSSO stands for and what its goals are.  On the CCSSO website, it states that one of its main goals is “Continued Commitment to Disaggregation” of student data.  Disaggregation means that academic bundles of students’ information will be separated into groups that are increasingly easy to identify individually.

5.   “Utah’s Model for Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance.” (UMCCG)   is an official document from the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) that actively endorses the collection of behavioral and non-academic data.   It says, for instance, that perception data must be assessed.

-From page 172: “Perception data: Perception data answer the question, “What do people think they know, believe or can do?” These data measure  what students and others observe or perceive, knowledge gained, attitudes and beliefs held and competencies achieved. These data are often collected through pre- and post-surveys, tests or  skill demonstration opportunities such as presentations or role play,  data, competency achievement, surveys or evaluation forms.” (pgs. 58-59)

-From page 66: Examples of attitudes or belief data  include: “74 percent of students believe fighting is wrong.”

This list of Student Outcomes (which will be tracked by computers, according to the document) is full of non-academic outcomes.

-From page 136: 
MG:A1 Demonstrate a deep regard for self and others
MG:A2 Demonstrate a personal commitment to basic democratic principles
MG:A3 Demonstrate a civil and considerate spirit while participating in society”
(Some people may object to MG:A2, for example, since “basic democratic principles” aren’t the same thing as “basic republican principles” and FYI, the Constitution specifically guarantees individuals a republican form of government.  (Article 4, Section 4, U.S. Constitution.)  So what if my child’s been taught about Article 4, Section 4, at home, and he/she doesn’t test “correctly” on MG:A2?  These outcomes may sound innocuous to many, but here’s the REAL point:  if the government/school system/USOE claims the right to test our children for one set of beliefs, be they good or bad, they can test our children for other sets of beliefs.  They don’t have the right to do this, in my opinion,  without parental consent or at least an opt-out-of-the-SLDS-database option for parents who do object.)

These 5 points together prove, at least to me, that the educational government of Utah is collecting behavioral and non-academic data on our children without our consent.

But lastly, there is this issue:  Ms. Park also wrote, “The only data that is collected and maintained is the specific data required by state and federal law.”

This is a big problem since the state and the federal privacy protection requirements do not match anymore.  Ms. Park does not seem to be aware of this.  But today, the state is much more protective of students’ rights.  Federal FERPA regulations have been altered –not by Congress but by the sneaky  Department of Education (DOE).  The DOE changed the definitions of terms.  They reduced from a requirement to only a “best practice” the previously protective rule that parental consent had to be obtained (prior to sharing private student data).  They redefined personally identifiable information.  So, no more parental consent needed and whatever they can con states into sharing, will be shared.  Is this the kind of federal rule that Ms. Park is content to have us obey?

Because Utah agreed in that same SLDS federal grant applicaton to use PESC standards and SIF interoperability frameworks, Utah’s children’s private data can be accessed by other states and federal agencies very easily as long as current Utah policy permits it.

Unless people stand up– unless bills like Jake Anderegg’s current HB169 student data privacy bill  and others like it will pass, we have very few protections and a wide open policy of quite promiscious data sharing here in Utah.

Sad but true.

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9 responses to “Fact-Checking Associate UT Superintendent Judy Park on Nonacademic Data Collection

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  1. Cristel, as usual, you explain things so well. I hate to make your world more difficult, but is there a way to make this printer friendly. It is really helpful for me to have some ammo, so I don’t get all tongue tied.

  2. This is a silly post. First you promise a “fact check,” then go on to prove what Park is quoted as saying is true: the only data collected is that required by state and federal law.

    A debate over collecting the data is one thing but to hint that Park is being dishonest in the title then to prove yourself she is stating fact… Well that makes YOU look dishonest. So will you fact check yourself now for integrity’s sake?

  3. Dear Ms. Olsen, please be assured that those proposing Common Core are indeed liars. Liberals/Progressives can not succeed with their pograms (not misspelled) unless they lie about their intentions. The persecuted today are citizens who defend the Constitution. Perhaps you haven’t heard of the IRS targeting Tea Party groups? That is evidence of the administration’s pogram. Please recall the POTUS stating dozens of times that if you like your health care, doctor and hospital you can keep them. Was that not a lie too? A liar is a liar all the time, not just on a few occasions. We face two choices freedom or slavery Ms. Olsen, I hope you choose freedom because Common Core is the road to serfdom. Remember, Hell is paved with “good” intentions.

  4. Someone sent me this pennsylvania document which looks like mandate? Or requirement of following standards to collect this data, take a look.

    http://static.pdesas.org/content/documents/Student_Interpersonal_Skills_Standards.pdf

  5. A bit of fact checking for you. The line about student behavior indicators was already existing code, it was not part of the 2012 bill. Why didn’t you cite SB 175 from last year, it contained the same section of code with the same language? The fact is that language has been in state code for many years and has nothing to do with the Utah Core Curriculum Standards or the SAGE testing.

    Also, just because somebody co-authors an article for publication in a journal for an organization does not make them a “key player” in that organization. If I were to write an article with others and it were to appear in any education publication that wouldn’t make me a key player in their organization.

    Finally, as an agent of the state, Ms. Park must comply with state and federal law. If she were not to do so, she would be rebuked by many and most likely lose her job.

  6. Jb,
    SB 175 line 33 AMENDS:
    Line 34 53A-1-603, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012

    Line 46 53A-1-603 Definitions (as you read the definitions of that amended law you will find 62 (d))
    Line 62 (d) the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance

    As you can see the use of behavior indicators was not existing code, it was amended in 2012.

    Michelle Boulter
  7. The Utah State Office of Education has an official document actively endorsing the collection of behavioral and non-academic data, “Utah’s Model for Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance”

    “Perception data: Perception data answer the question, “What do people think they know, believe or can do?” These data measure what students and others observe or perceive, knowledge gained, attitudes and beliefs held and competencies achieved. These data are often collected through pre- and post-surveys, tests or skill demonstration opportunities such as presentations or role play, data, competency achievement, surveys or evaluation forms.” (pgs. 58-59″)

    This list of CCGP Student Outcomes (which will be tracked by computers according to the document) is full of non-academic outcomes.

    MG:A1 Demonstrate a deep regard for self and others
    MG:A2 Demonstrate a Personal Commitment to basic democratic principles
    MG:A3 Demonstrate a civil and considerate spirit while participating in society

    You can see the document at: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/is-the-usoe-practicing-psychological-profiling-on-your-child/

  8. Michelle,
    With all due respect, bills include all existing language and the new language is underlined and language to be removed is stricken through. Therefore the part about the use of student behavior indicators was existing language and not part of the new language added in the bill.

  9. It’s one thing to test on whether they know democratic principles, and how to be civil and considerate. It’s quite another to test them on whether they believe and follow through on these principles. Schools are about teaching kids how to do things not micromanaging their beliefs. They are taking over the job of the parent.

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