If a parent wants psychologists, researchers, doctors or businessmen studying his/her child, and the parents gives written consent, I have no problem with that.
I do have a very big problem with researchers, businessmen, politicians and others studying children without parental consent or knowledge. That’s 1984-style creepy. That’s government believing it’s bigger and more valid than those who created it.
The NCES, also known as the National Center for Educational Statistics, a federal branch, is so hungry for data on kindergarteners (and on everyone else, for that matter, that it worries me. People aren’t aware of what NCES is aiming to do. Nobody’s fighting in a meaningful way to protect children’s and family privacy rights. Federal FERPA laws that were supposed to protect student and family rights were shredded a few years ago. Data is the new oil, the new gold, those who want the data are desperate to get it, and they are getting it.
What are they getting?
If you click on this link, you will find a pdf with 187 PAGES of data points that NCES plans to collect on our kindergarteners. That’s not 187 points of data, but 187 pages of points of data. Medical data. Home data. Racial data. Academic data. Behavioral data. Data on children’s weight, household marriages, poverty levels, cohabiations, occupations, motivation levels, game playing, number of books in the home— everything. Click on this link and see the PDF for the whole list.
Here’s a tiny sample:
190 TEACHER REPORT EXTERN PROB BEHAVIORS
194 X1 TEACHER REPORT INTERN PROB BEHAVIORS
200 X1 TEACHER REPORT ATTENTIONAL FOCUS
204 X1 TEACHER REPORT INHIBITORY CONTROL
226 X3 HEIGHT MEASUREMENT PRESENT
228 X3 WEIGHT MEASUREMENT PRESENT
230 X1 CHILD COMPOSITE BMI
302 X12 PARENT 1 EDUCATION LEVEL (IMPUTED)
305 X1 PARENT 1 EMPLOYMENT STATUS
307 X1 PARENT 1 OCCUPATION
309 X1 AVG PRESTIGE SCR FOR PAR 1 OCCUPATION (IMPUTED)
335 X1 NUMBER IN HOUSEHOLD AGED <18
338 X1 NUMBER IN HOUSEHOLD AGED 18+
345 X1 # HOURS SPENT IN NONPARENTAL CARE NOW
353 X2 INCOME CATEGORY (IMPUTED)
356 X12 POVERTY LEVEL
358 X2 ADULT’S FOOD SECURITY RAW SCORE
363 X4 ADULT’S FOOD SECURITY STATUS
368 CHILD’S FOOD SECURITY STATUS
374 X2 HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY STATUS
380 X12 MOTHER MARRIED AT TIME OF BIRTH
387 X1 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL (How would they get this data from a private school?)
457 F1 PARENT INTERVIEW DISPOSITION CODE
473 F1 PARENT INTERVIEW WORK AREA
521 F1 SCHOOL CENSUS TRACT CODE
525P1 HOME CENSUS TRACT CODE
585 C1 ACQ025 INTERRUPTION DURING ASSESSMENT
587 C1 ACQ035 DISRUPTIONS DURING ASSESSMENT
601 C1 ACQ075 CHILD’S MOTIVATION LEVEL
602 C1 ACQ080 CHILD’S COOPERATION
603 C1 ACQ085 CHILD’S ATTENTION LEVEL
1269 P1 FSQ200 CURRENT MARITAL STATUS
1316 P1 HEQ010A HOW OFTEN YOU TELL STORIES
1317 P1 HEQ010B HOW OFTEN YOU ALL SING SONGS
1318 P1 HEQ010C HOW OFTEN YOU HELP CHD DO ART
1319 P1 HEQ010D HOW OFTEN CHILD DOES CHORES
1320 P1 HEQ010E HOW OFTEN YOU ALL PLAY GAMES
1321 P1 HEQ010F HOW OFTEN YOU TALK ABT NATURE
1329 P1 HEQ040 HOW MANY BOOKS CHILD HAS
…These types of very personal questions keep going until 1332
1333 P1 CCQ010 NOW HAS CARE FROM RELATIVE
1334 P1 CCQ015 EVER HAD CARE FROM RELATIVE
1354 P1 CCQ085 # OF DAYS/WK OF REL CARE
1355 P1 CCQ090 # OF HRS/WK OF REL CARE
1356 P1 CCQ092 CHARGE FOR RELATIVE CARE
1451 P1 CHQ085 COMPLICATIONS TO BIRTH/DELIVRY
1470P1 CHQ095 EVER HAD EAR INFECTION
1471P1 CHQ096 EVER HAD EAR ACHE
1510P1 CHQ330 SCALE OF CHILDS HEALTH
1511 P1 SSQ010J KEEP WORKING TO FINISH
1516 P1 SSQ010X CREATIVE IN WORK OR PLAY
1519 P1 MHQ025B YEAR WHEN RESP-BIOPAR MARRIED (When parents were married)
1521 P1 MHQ035A MNTH RESBIOMOM-DAD START COHAB
So many times, ugly education and data reform sites/pages “disappear” from the internet after people start pointing them out. So, in case that happens again, I have also copied and pasted (below) a list of restricted data that is now available from this link: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/licenses.asp –and I’m going to screen shot and paste the link of the Kindergarten and First Grade data file, that led to this list, below.
The sad fact seems to be that we, as a group of people, have so much confidence in other human beings that we do not search out for ourselves what is really going on, and we do not demand that our children’s data be protected.
We are in a state of blind self-security, trusting our children’s destinies to the hands of data-hungry strangers with reckless confidence. We have to be smarter than this, more protective than this!
If you do not know why so much data sharing is a bad idea, please, for starters, read the book 1984. It’s free.