Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Data Collection on Children, A Security Crisis

"I think anyone should know my child's religion, prenatal care information, physical appearance, behavioral health, allergies, browsing history, home address, and then some... without my permission. I mean, that Target credit card breach a few years ago wasn't fun enough"  said no parent ever.

But as we delve further into a world of Big Data, we as consumers are constantly at risk of data security breaches, such as the Target credit card fiasco, Premera Healthcare, Home Depot, and the US Military to name a few seen in an info graphic here.   Millions upon millions of people's social security numbers, credit card numbers, and worse were jeopardized.  Your child could be next.

But don't worry, the US Government ensures you that your child's health and education data is safe and secure - never mind that the US military and the IRS had security breeches, you're safe, trust us, we're the government.

Ok, you say, but what info can schools possibly have on my child? Maybe their name, birthdate, and report card grades? No big deal.

But it is.

Because schools collect a whole lot more on your child and even you yourself, if you are a caretaker of your child. Remember a teacher's empty threat, "This will go down on your permanent record"? It is no longer a threat but an Orwellian reality.

To highlight key points of a Washington Post Article,  there is indeed a lot more being collected on your child and family than you could ever suspect, and it is not secure as you would hope.


To quote a quote within a quote in the  aforementioned Washington Post Article,  

"During a February 2015 congressional hearing on “How Emerging Technology Affects Student Privacy,” Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin asked the panel to “provide a summary of all the information collected by the time a student reaches graduate school.” Joel Reidenberg, director of the Center on Law & Information Policy at Fordham Law School, responded:
“Just think George Orwell, and take it to the nth degree. We’re in an environment of surveillance, essentially. It will be an extraordinarily rich data set of your life.” "
To expand upon this, which I will mention again in this blog post, the government is creating a "rich data set" of health data, school data, and career data as one. Reidenberg is not exaggerating with his haunting statement on the Orwellian at a set being put into place RIGHT NOW.

Resistance is futile.


"Most student data is gathered at school via multiple routes; either through children’s online usage or information provided by parents, teachers or other school staff. A student’s education record generally includes demographic information, including race, ethnicity, and income level; discipline records, grades and test scores, disabilities and Individual Education Plans (IEPs), mental health and medical history, counseling records and much more.
Under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), medical and counseling records that are included in your child’s education records are unprotected by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act passed by Congress in 1996). Thus, very sensitive mental and physical health information can be shared outside of the school without parent consent."
Even as your child, an unwilling pawn,  simply clicks "3" on some educational software game in the classroom, data is being collected and disseminated. Not only may their results be collected (as in "got 8/10 multiplication problems correct") but their browsing behavior is collected for non-education reasons- for profit- to help target advertisement as explained here.  
Your child's test scores, in fact their entire academic record, are "uploaded" and can be given or sold to "educational" people and organizations. Your child's behavior record , any school counseling, and all medical records that the school has are included as well. Special Education students have a plethora of private data in their IEPs which is, you guessed it, available to those who have a justifiable reason (a loose meaning of the term) to access it.
And to repeat a very key point, your child's information can legally be shared outside of the school without your consent
Much of this data is part of the SLDS or Statewide Longitudinal Data System, which can be summed up here, and it is actually far more than it seems to be. One might envision a "virtual transcript" for each student, but it aims to collect far more for far longer, as part of the SLDS- linked P-16 (a.k.a. P-20, B-20, P12), a literal cradle to the grave data set on each child. Just google P-20 and you will find more information than you need, from most every state, school district, and college in the nation. Wikipedia does a satisfactory job of summarizing it very briefly here; there is far much more to explain and learn if you wish. One key point is that it states each child has a unique, secure identifier to NOT link the data to the person, but many schools do not know how to encrypt student data (not to mention the risk of "hackers"), mentioned here- student data should be, and often is, encrypted, but there is no law in place to ensure it is encrypted.
So what data is indeed being collected? Every state, and indeed every school collects different information, but any information collected by the school in any form can easily be part of the data set. The CEDS or Common Educaton Data Standards list all sets of information which can be collected on students, and disseminated to employers (a.k.a. the workforce), colleges, research organizations, curriculum/textbook companies, school staff, government employees (such as those in health or education departments) to name a few. The CEDS "list" of data is here  and here (a blog post of mine)  through California's SLDS called CALPADs,  and includes parameters for data on your child such as; 
* class start time
* home address
*family income
* disciplinary record including perpetrator, witness, and victim information
*  developmental delays and programs offered thereof
* prenatal care information and gestational age at birth/birth weight
* incarceration data  (a blog post of mine mentions this, look for FETPIP in a graphic here
* Bus stop place and time
* religious considerations
* height, weight, other physical identifiers

I just ask all readers to think: If a school doesn't encrypt this data (therefore it connects your child's name to all this information) or someone "hacks" this data, are you comfortable with that data "out there"? In a best case scenario, are you comfortable with this data being collected on your children? Do you feel your prenatal care information, mental health data, etc should be provided to your child's future employer, a textbook company, a university student collecting data? 





Wednesday, January 7, 2015

weekly links

Weekly links (Or monthly links at this point...)

cradle to grave california (< thats a link right there) connect ed has linked learning, part of California's P20 crafle to grave data collection on children.

Related to it is linked learning which is all new to me. Ok well I knew California had to have some cradle to career aspects but I had yet to find concrete evidence.

Anyway I found both those links from CommonCoreDiva and her blog/article at common core diva

Sure....gettig more kids to complete high school is awesome. But using something everyone can rally behind (right? Increasing graduation rates, yes please!)" But dangling the carrot and influencing "warm fuzzies" and emotions of everyone is a propahanda tactic and hiding behind good will is social efficiency and probably some "lining the coffers" for the school to prison pipeline. Little Jacob stole milk money in first grade and listened to heavy metal in high school so he is likely to go to prison, best not encourage college, and Emma wants to be a physicist but she borrows when subtracting instead of using the laboriois common core method, thus, she failed third grade math so put her on the career path of dishwasher..... here is one more bit about it..

...what happens if there is a data security breach like happemed at Target or Home Depot or Amazom or... the list goes on. Be afraid. Heres the link, here it is.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

interview with a vampire

A school district near me has teachers who are seriously threatening a strike over class size and pay. I have been a teacher and am all about class size reduction (16 per class. Believe me. Its the perfect number, and test scores proving otherwise are bunk, but that is another topic). I do think teaching is often an under-respected profession. But. A big but. (Yes this is not proper English, carry on.) When at least in my own dostrict, children ard using the same textbooks I used in middle school and the district is in violation, with double the ed code/ by law caseload of special ed preschool students, I can say this - schools need the money. Schools need "fixing". More money with the same practices, less money with the same practices, more money for teachers, it won't work until we hit reboot on the entire system.

Wait where was I going here?

Ah yes, interview with the vampire. This district near me is hiring substitutes to cross the line; at first, people with a BA degree and hopefully CBEST, the pre-req to suhstitute teach. Then, honestly, whoever, or just smooshing two hundred kids into the auditorium with one substitute and a movie. They are begging parents to send their kids to school because they cannot afford to lose ADA (attendance funding) even though the kids will be under-taught and under-supervised. Perhaps the subs they hire after the initial bit will no longer have CBEST or experience. They are offering $295 per day in a desperate attempt to hire enough teachers for 21,000 students. This is a district with 80% free or reduced lunch, 60% minority, in a highly gang ridden area, students who do not need a shoddy education or to be babysat by random unqualified people.

The district, as stated, is offering $295 per day for subs willing to cross the picket line. This is the same approxomate pay for a "real" salaried and tenured (and striking) teacher! Usually, subs earn between $90-$125. They cannot pull from the pull of district subs due to conflict of interest.

So. I am making mortal enemies and have an interview to be an on-call, lime crossing sub. My mother, a former teacher, says this is the nail in the coffin to my teaching career. Perhaps it is, and perhaps this is why I cannot seem to keep a job long enough to be tenured. I do not give a **** about politics, political correctedness, etc when the sake of children is at hand. Sure, teachers deserve good pay, smaller class sizes are a godsend (ever taught a class of 38 at risk high schoolers? 36 fifth graders including wards of the state? That alone will make you want smaller class sizes). But it doesnt negate the fact that 21,000 children, mostly "at risk", at the bottom of the social ladder, children who witness violence and hunger daily, need a caring memtor and an education to give them the hope and tools to empower themselves for a better life and better world. When all they have to look forward to is a safe classroom and smiling teacher, how do you think they feel when they are abandoned by their only sense of normalcy, structure, support?

That is why I am willing to cross the line. So many times, I speak up for the children and always suffer the consequences. But i refuse to die someday, knowing I gabe in to my morals and towed the line to appease someone while leaving children in the dust.

Friday, October 24, 2014

weekly links

I will try and do weekly links to interesting articles, with brief commentary. So here goes

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/1117Every school I hsbe worked in has banned personal electronics. This includes Ipods and other musical listening devices. I have secretly experimented and allowed a triwl run of students listening to their music on headphones. I do not have any empirical data, but did notice less behavioral problems, especially among students who usually refuse to do any schooleork. When "plugged in", thry could tune out and listen to music instead of disrupting others. Many students seemed to focus better on the task at hand. Thry could tune out other noises and let thr emotions and beats of the music kind of fuel them. They even begged to listen to music of their choice for exams, but that is VERY forbidden by the testing business for fear of cheating. Oh well. Here is some proof that music helps work productivity. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/11179017/This-is-the-kind-of-music-you-should-listen-to-at-work.html

So, if I ruled education, not only would students "plug in to music", but start school later in the day. I recall leaving the house for high school at 6:30am, earlier if I was to catch the bus. Kids near the attendance boundaries catch the bus at 5:55am. I recall the pain and torture of waking up before dawn. I remember getting my desk rapped with a ruler, the whoosh of air mere nanometers from my face, in an attempt to wake me in AP French IV at 7:10am. And yet schools refuse to start high school later in the day, or even offering a tiered plan; students in sports or working can attend 7-2 and then the rest can attend 9-4, or students get to choose from the two. So many studies prove how biologically, teens don't function at 7am and need their sleep; their bodies working best when going to bed late and rising late. Here is but one study. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/25/pediatricians-late-school-start-time-good-for-teens/14338565/ surely a late start time would benefit children and learning, so of course we do not do it. How else could we profit from academic intervention curriculum and medication to keep children happy, attentive, and alert at the crack of dawn? more about later start times

Somehow this relates to another link, http://online.wsj.com/articles/for-more-teens-arrests-by-police-replace-school-discipline-1413858602 which requires logging in to view buuuuuuut, basically it is about the criminalizing of being a child. How zero tolerance policies and crazy rules make school a literal police state. And yet other schools turn a blind eye to crime, making teachers document months of interventions and feel good chats before escalating things enough to contact the parents or principal. Therefore students either end up ruling the school with misbehavior, or become too frightened to move. Ruling the school in misbehavior begets more interventions and the like, all ways to waste money and get nowhere so you can perpetuate the schools are in trouble idealogy. (Granted it is a real idealogy but no one in power wishes to fix the problem.) Or you can break down the student and use fear to coerce them into compliance.


this blog's not dead

I realize I rarely post but I have not lost my vigor. I am still doing what I do snd will try and post more often.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Slavery Wages and Common Core

I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Slave wages. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Ok, that's a bit sensational but not quite. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Teachers in my state make about $40,000 start pay to $75,000 right before retirement, but of course it varies. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Here I am, an experienced, credentialed teacher. I have a BA, MA, and three credentials. I don't recall the exact fact, but the majority of people being credentialed in California are already credentialed and are seeking further credentials and education for better job outlook, so I am not the anomaly. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

I keep trying to land a job and actually stay long enough for tenure, for no avail. I have massive, scary, overburdening student loans to pay back. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Enough about me and the fact many echo my story. On to my point. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

I have written previously of experienced, pink slipped teachers vying for a position as a teacher's aide, being that a thousand people can apply for a teaching job, they apply to anything and everything. Going from, say, a salary of $45,000, 6 years of college, and $80,000 in loan debt to praying to land a part-time, 15 hours a week job paying $11 an hour. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Remember, school generally only goes for about 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 30 weeks minus the random day off for one-day holidays and furloughs. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Maybe they apply to be a substitute teacher, often a job filled with retirees and recent BA holders thinking about going back to get a teaching credential, it is now also a career filled with RIFed teachers (the first to get a sub job). Some places in my state only pay $90 a day, no benefits, and you're lucky to work the 180 days of a school year...it is more like a few days a week at best. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

I recently applied for a few jobs, and discovered aide positions and sub jobs aren't the only wage slavery for teachers. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

One job was "on call" at $19 an hour. That meant I could, at best, work a 30 hour week and at worst...not work for a week. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Another was a full time teacher at a private school, at $11 an hour. You needed credentials and a BA and experience. To send your own child to school there cost more than you'd earn. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Other jobs look great- wow! $45,000 a year! But you must have three specific credentials or sorry, we don't want you. Or, you must be fully bilingual. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

Or, sure, you can make a nice $48,000 but must work 260 days a year for 8 hours plus some nights and weekends. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

How does this all tie into common core? I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

I didn't see such wage slavery until it began to encroach a few years ago, but it was a rarity. Since we adopted common core, such wage slavery is blossoming, mostly at charter schools and private enterprises that can suck on the blood of a "failing" public school. Often, a public school will shut down and a charter pops up in its place. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

As Common Core training, curriculum, technology costs go through the roof and funds plummet, districts and schools must compensate somehow. They HAVE to buy new Common Core textbooks, train staff, provide laptops, pay for assessments, as it is the LAW. So they have to "find" money somewhere, and salary and benefits take up to 80 or 90% of the budget. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

But good luck ever decreasing salaries and benefits without hell to pay. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

So, they raise class size to, say, 38 per class so they can RIF some teachers. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

They allow charters and private enterprise to offer what seems like better programs outside of the public arena. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

They RIF "probationary" (non-tenured, new) teachers like no ones business. These teachers end up with one year job stints every few years, and the district saves money because a person near retirement costs over $70,000 and once they retire, you can fill their position for $40,000. Before tenure and a guaranteed job and salary step and column hike, you RIF them and replace then with a new $40,000 teacher...again and again. You help perpetuate the myth that we have a "critical shortage" of teachers, because the jobs for those hire-fire teachers are posted regularly (even if 1,000 apply). You perpetuate the lie so that universities put out more college grads with teaching credentials and racked up student debt.... Sallie Mae has "her" hands all over Common Core, knowing that the push for everyone to be "college bound" and for "more teachers" will line her pockets. I constantly hear the public bemoan teacher pay- it is either too much or too little. Such a debate won't be one for a simple blog post, but I have a spin-off of interest,

I foresee a day, far too soon, when a single "teacher" oversees 100, 200 students doing computer-based learning at minimum wage. Common Core is so "foolproof" and "cognitive learning based" with prescriptive lessons and self-manageable computer programs, that you don't need to "pay" for talent. You can hire recent grads, desperate for ANY money, willing to work for minimum wage on the desperate hope for the ability to "teach the love of learning". Ha.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SOS save our schools

 My local district is suffering from major financial issues and declining enrollment -a 36% decline in 15 years. In order to save money, they are moving alternative education and pink slipping all non-teaching staff and "sharing" staff with the neighboring school a few hundred yards away. The only part left of alternative ed is a continuation school, the independent study, young parents, and adult ed/GED portions are gone. Our small community has high unemployment and is remote and lacks adequate public transportation, drug use, crime rate, poverty are on the rise. We lack things for teens to do - no malls, the park now costs money, no swimming areas or non-church related activities for teens. And so the district decides to save money by cutting programs for our most at-risk. If the do not fit in the regular model of education, they have no alternatives. No other districts or non-secretarian schools, no charters. Nothing. We claim to have rigor and individualized education and bla bla bla....so, this week I plan on addressing the board of directors to keep the school where it is. I've worked there and know the staff as well and it is a small, Close-knit school that cares. Ridding of non teaching staff, housing the students in a different campus than now, ridding of most of alternative ed as it is...is an injustice. When the district complains of lost ADA, higher percent of drop-outs, and a community with higher crime, poverty, and unemployment, I hope then the district might take notice that tossing our at risk (often our most creative thinkers) to the wolves was indeed a bad idea. Told you so.