Archive for the ‘technology’ Tag

How Long Until Utah “Complies” With Federal Requests for Hundreds of Data Points on Individuals?   15 comments

Today I called Jerry Winkler, Utah Information Technology Director to ask questions about the federally paid-for  State Longitudinal Database System
He was very gracious and I appreciated his willingness to answer questions.
I asked him if he could verify the information I’d received from the state school board, that the reason that a Utah student is not able to opt out of the SLDS tracking system, is because of limitations of technology.
( I had received that idea from the state school board:  “Current data systems do not allow for individual student data to be withheld from the data submission process.”
See email here: http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/usoe-the-answer-is-no-can-a-student-attend-public-school-without-being-p-20slds-tracked/ )
But Jerry Winkler told me that it’s not a technology limitation.
“It’s a policy question,” he said, and directed me to inquire further about the policy from Carol Lear, the top lawyer at the Utah State Office of Education.
I shuddered.  I know more than I want to about  Carol Lear, the top U.S.O.E. lawyer.   Just FYI:  Carol Lear told me last year that since “the whole point is to be common” — it was of no importance that there’s no amendment process to Common Core.   She also told me she believed a cost analysis had been done on Common Core in Utah, when there had not –and still has not.   She displayed zero respect for the 10th Amendment and the  General Educational Provisions Act. and told me that she had never heard of the Cooperative Agreement and she thought it was a hoax.  Finally, she refused to respond to further questions and told me to go talk the the public relations department.  With no sense of valiance in defending states’ rights, would Lear balk at caving in to any request the federal Dept. of Education made of Utah?
Back to today:
I asked Jerry Winkler how compliant our state has been, so far, to the requests from the federal government at the Data Quality Campaign and the National Data Collection Model, those federal websites which request hundreds of non-academic data points about children from schools (including nicknames, family, voting, income, health and psychological information, etc.)
He verfied that Utah does submit information gathered by schools to the federal government, but assured me that right now, Utah is giving only aggregated (grouped) information to the federal government (He verified that this takes place at the portal called the Edfacts Exchange )
Winkler said that right now, Utah is keeping dis-aggregated data (personally identifiable data) inside the state at the SLDS database.
“Who or what would change that?” I asked, “At what point will Utah give in to federal requests to give up disaggregated (personal) data to the federal government, as well? Who makes the call to be more “compliant” with the federal requests?
Carol Lear, he said.  She is the one who would make the call.
Yikes.
Jerry Winkler also told me he believed that students could opt out of being tracked by the State Longitudinal Database System at the local LEA level, but if the data was entered by the LEA, it would automatically be sent to the SLDS and Utah Data Alliance, at which point opting out would end.
I had not heard this.  I will be asking my LEA how to accomplish that.
I asked Jerry Winkler if he had read of the Department of Education’s destructive alterations to federal FERPA (privacy law) and of the lawsuit over the matter, brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
He had not heard of it. 

Mississippi Struggling With Common Core Budget Demands   1 comment

http://www.sunherald.com/2013/01/19/4416545/pascagoula-schools-preparing-early.html

The Mississippi Sun-Herald reports that like many other school districts, Pascagoula district leaders are “bracing themselves as they prepare for new federal requirements for online state testing”.

It is interesting to note that most states adopted Common Core without doing a cost analysis of the program.

The Missisippi Sun-Herald explains that “All U.S. students in second through 12th grades, under the newly adopted Common Core State Standards, will take the same standardized tests online rather than on paper at school. The deadline for schools to implement this requirement is the 2014-15 school year.”

The Sun-Herald quotes Pascagoula District Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich: “This is going to be a problem in Mississippi if it’s not addressed now in the budget.”

The article states that many school districts “find themselves struggling with a lack in technology and hardware, outdated electrical infrastructure, a shortage of bandwidth and a need for more staff” to manage all the requirements of Common Core implementation.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2013/01/19/4416545/pascagoula-schools-preparing-early.html#storylink=cpy

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