Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Who Needs to Know? part II

A continnum of my post

There is rumor of"opt-out" to CCSS and the LDS data collection, and I have heard many anecdotes of parents whose information is collected without permission. A well known example would be the iris scanning incident ( However, supposedly law is in place to prevent such things,

"The Fair Information 
Practice of Transparency calls for “providing 
notice to the individual regarding the collection, 
use, dissemination, and maintenance of personally 
identifiable information” (NIST 2010 Special 
Publication 800-122, p. D-2, 3)."

This links to FERPA which was changed in 2011 (after publication of this document) which is referenced here and to cite a few sources.

But don't fear, folks....

"A school or district is also required to provide an 
annual Directory notice, if directory information 
is disclosed without consent. The school or district 
may choose to combine their annual FERPA 
notification with their annual Directory notice. 
Directory information includes information 
contained in a student’s education record that 
would not generally be considered harmful or an 
invasion of privacy if disclosed. The Directory 
notice must describe the specific types of 
information the school or district has designated 
as directory information, and the parent’s right to 
opt out of disclosure of directory information. In 
the case of postsecondary institutions, these rights 
accrue to the student."

Of course, I have worked in schools and perhaps I'm out of the loop and was out of the loop as data and assessment coordinator but I've never seen this directory or heard mention of it. I hope exists but my guess is it is published in the district office and sits in a binder; no one is ever notified of it, the fact that it is law is apparently enough notification.

Collecting data is, again, supposedly a very public motion with an opt-out program but it isn't quite that cut and dry. All the info you submit when enrolling a child (ie a photo id of parents, utility bills, birth certificate) are all "mandatory" for enrollment and often end up in the data systems. I mean, I guess that is common sense but parents often do not think of it as such, and they are not alerted to the collection and use of the data past enrollment purposes.

"The Pupil Protection Rights Act requires parental 
notification if a study to be conducted in a school 
includes any information or questions about the 
student or the student’s family related to the eight 
identified sensitive topics: political affiliations or 
beliefs; religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs; 
mental and psychological problems; sex behavior 
or attitudes; illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating If the study is funded by the U.S. Department of 
Education, schools and contractors must obtain 
written parental consent before minor students 
can be required to participate in the study. If the 
school received funds from the U.S. Department of 
Education, school districts are required to provide 
an annual schedule of the specific or approximate 
dates of all other surveys with a notification of 
the parents’ right to request and review a copy of 
the survey before it is administered and to decide 
that their child will not participate, reagrdless 
of the survey’s source of funding. Under this 
Act, parents must also be notified each year of 
their right to decide whether or not their child 
will participate in activities that make student’s 
personal information available for marketing or 
other profit-making activities."

Again, I have yet to see these "notifications" and keep hearing from parents of breech of this law/procedure.

Things often get lost in "legalese" and below you can see that permission to use a student's data is permissible   without notification when sharing with school officials and other designated entities with legitimate educational interests. What might that mean? I have yet to get an answer and suspect it could mean volunteers, government organizations (i.e. dept of health), testing companies, think tanks, researchers, textbook companies, and corporations.

"The annual FERPA notice provides information 
about permissible uses of PII in education records. 
That is, FERPA allows educational agencies 
and institutions to non-consensually release 
education records to school officials and other 
designated entities with legitimate educational 
interests 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b(1)(A)"

To confirm or ease my fears, here is some more "legalese",

third-party contractor, consultant, 
volunteer, or other party to whom an 
agency or institution has outsourced 
institutional services for which the 
agency or institution would otherwise 
use employees—as long as that third 
party’s use and maintenance of education 
records is under the direct control of the 
agency or institution and is subject to 
the regulation requirements governing 
the use and redisclosure of PII from 
education records......
.....The disclosure is to organizations conducting 
studies for, or on behalf of, educational 
agencies or institutions for specified 
purposes related to predictive tests, student 
aid programs, or the improvement of 
.............The disclosure is in connection with a health 

or safety emergency .............."

So yes corporations, government officials, volunteers etc can see the data. And what defines a health or safety emergency? A natural disaster, yes....but could there be a "psychological risk screening", "immunization study" or other "emergency" where data is collected? Again, the answer is unclear.

Can you view your child's records to ensure compliance?t  Yes....kind of. You probably will not know who else views their data but you can know what they view.... kind of. I have heard fro parents that is isn't just a walk in and see them scenario, that schools stall and send you from one person to another; some schools reportedly have even tried to charge a fee for the records. Regardless, here is the law.

"FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g (a) and the related 
regulations (34 CFR § 99) establish the right of 
a parent to inspect and review his or her child’s 
(or in the case of an eligible student his or her 
own) education record for accuracy."

I hope these two posts, links, excerpts, and commentary have helped parents and educators at least know what is happening with data (even if some of this information is three years old, thus outdated).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who Needs to Know?

As one may surmise, one of my biggest apprehensions regarding CCSS (Common Core Standards) is the LDS (Longitudinal Data Sysyem) collections proposed.

I found a document that had some interesting information that I will copy and paste here. Enjoy!

The Fair Information Practice of Data 
Minimization and Retention calls for “only 
collecting personally identifiable information that 
is directly relevant and necessary to accomplish 
the specified purpose(s). [And for] only retaining 
personally identifiable information for as long as 
is necessary to fulfill the specified purpose(s).”

This sounds innocent but who decides what is relevant and necessary, and for how long? With P-20 in position, the information could be viable and important for more than 20 years of a person's life. The types of data could include psychological profiles, behavioral records, health records and religious affiliation, to name a few. links to and  which outline these proposed records to be collected on students. Each to their own, but who wants this information collected on their children, especially when the length of time and who views the data remains vague?

Perhaps I am paranoid but thus next excerpt shows my worst fears;

"Linkage with information from an external 
source could occur as a result of a direct linkage 
by someone with access to two confidential 
data systems who is able to directly link the two 
databases (e.g., the student record linked to local 
public health records on sexually transmitted 
diseases or local crime records) or as a result of a 
less direct linkage of information from a student’s 
education record with information available in 
public records (e.g., the education record for a 
15-year-old Asian female includes participation 
in services for unmarried pregnant students, and 
public birth records could be used to identify 
the father of the student’s child. Alternatively, an 
education record might show that a 13-year-old 
female student was the victim of a violent assault 
during the school day on a specific date (without 
the specifics of the assault). Meanwhile, a report 
in a local newspaper, while protecting the direct 
identifiers of the victim, reveals some of the details 
of an assault on a female student in that school on 
the same date)."

The collection of data has purpose which to me seems to conflict, Case in point;

"INSTRUCTION—Teacher and counselors 
need information about an individual 
student’s previous educational experiences 
and any special needs the student might have 
to deliver appropriate instruction and services 
and to plan educational programs; parent 
contact information is needed to keep parents 
informed of student progress. 
» OPERATIONS—Schools and districts need 
data for individual students to ensure the 
efficiency of day-to-day functions such as 
attendance records, meeting individual 
students’ special needs, handling individual 
students’ health problems, and operating food 
service and transportation programs.
» MANAGEMENT—Schools, districts, and 
state education agencies use data about 
students for planning and scheduling 
educational programs and for the distribution 
of resources. ACCOUNTABILITY—Schools, districts, 
and state education agencies use data 
about students and about individual 
students’ progress to provide information 
about students’ accomplishments and 
the effectiveness of schools and specific 
educational programs. 
local, state, and federal education agencies 
use data about students and about individual 
students’ progress to conduct analysis 
of program effectiveness, the success 
of student subgroups, and changes in 
achievement over time to identify effective 
instructional strategies and to promote school 
improvement. "

I understand the purposes outlined here and agree with them, having had managed two schools' data a few years ago. But what does the information about an assault on campus that was reported in the news?  How would maternal last name, religious affiliation, and website URL be used in the classroom, or at the state and federal level to improve instruction?

 Again, I remind you of P20, that these records will follow you through life:

"To facilitate the 
usefulness of this information, the legislation 
also calls for an alignment between P–12 and 
postsecondary data systems, which requires 
linkages between student and teacher records, 
between preschool and elementary education, and 
between secondary and postsecondary education 
and the workforce."

It seems who will access student information remains unspecified, and the most private data such as biometrics and social security numbers are of course of highest concern. This document states that such records wqill only be accessed by and for a need to know basis but there lacks a definition of "need to know".

"After the risk level is established, consideration 
should be given to providing more protection 
and more restrictions on access for the data 
elements that are identified as highly sensitive. 
For example, these data elements might be stored 
apart from the rest of the student record in a 
more secure electronic environment, with access 
limited to “need to know” circumstances for only 
a subset of those with access to the system."

One possible relief is the proposal to give students unique identifier numbers (California already has such a thing) separate from their Social Security number; the article adds a second layer of security that at least did not exist in California during the 2010-2011 school year; a unique linking code to access social security numbers which few have access to, so that Social Security numbers will be more secure.

Who might be managing your child's data or accessing the linking codes? Well,

"PII carries a potential for misuse. As a result, it is
advisable to require security screenings for staff
members whose job responsibilities require them
to have access to PII in student education records.
The screening might include a background
investigation using written, electronic, telephone,
or personal contact to determine the suitability,
eligibility, and qualifications of a staff member for

This sounds great, yet humans are, well, human. Every year across the nation, teachers with supposed clean records and qualifications attend yearly training of confidentiality and test procedures, signing legally binding affidavits and yet every year there are teachers and administrators across the nation breaching confidentiality of these tests. Therefore, how can a similar procedure protect your child's data with 100% assuredness?

Stay tuned for part II of my analysis of this document.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The gray area

A quick little rant...

It seems that those I align myself with politically and educationally tend to go one way and those opposite, well, opposite. Of course I'm generalizing here, never a good tactic for debate or even backing up a claim but I digress....

What I'm trying to say is, it seems each "side" argues (yep here comes the generalizations) for one very polarized opinion.

Side A says: Eek education is all about indoctrination into social justice and communism (or socialism), environmentalism, removal of patriotism or anything to do with the constitution or Founding Fathers, replacing it with a one world order, pro-UN global society that hates Christianity.

Or something like that.

Side B says everything opposite (no need to list it, you are a smart reader and can figure it out)

And then there is little old me, usually siding with A and ranting about the wrongs of side B, but yet I say

Wait! There is a gray area!

America is a great nation, one many people only dream of, but yes we as a nation are not perfect. No one person or place is. We have faults. But we have things worthy of praise. Our values, our founding documents, our collective individualism and desire to help others and better ourselves and nation is something extraordinary. Few realize this, but talk to anyone from say, Cuba, Romania, Cambodia who came to our shores for what we offer and you will hear some great stories. So we can't just side with A and say we are the best most perfectly,  awesome country,  America f*** yeah, but we also can't say America is all that is evil and wrong with the world.

We cannot decimate the planet from an environmental perspective, but we should really bring in logic to the equation. No matter how many reusable bags I use, China will still be responsible for 30% of the smog in my  skies. Worshipping sustainability in the sense we become a third world stone age world is not the answer, but why not try and clean up the littered highways?

We are a predominately Christian nation, but there are other religions out there and we are not a Christian nation per se. Christians should pray for God to guide and protect our nation, but if a Muslim girl wants to wear a hijab or a school wants to teach that Hinduism is a religion of India and looks to books such as the Bhagavad Gita for guidance, so be it. We as Americans are not all one kind of people and that makes us great.

Face it. We are a global society. While we should have patriotism and love of our nation, we need to realize there is a world out there that interacts with us daily. We should be familiar with other cultures, religions, customs, languages. Chances are, you will have a neighbor from Italy and another from South Africa, a co-worker from Singapore, a boss from Brazil... you get the idea. We can love our country and know about other peoples.

We need to recongize these gray areas and focus in on them instead of polarizing everything. Only then can we get somewhere.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

P20, LDS, CCSS Data WILL control your child's future

P20 will mold your child into a specific career, not of your child's choosing but of the State's, Government's, or workforce/corporation's desire and need. With the collection of over 400 data points with LDS (Longitudinal Data Systems) being developed under CCSS, comes the sharing of that data with governmental agencies, colleges, and workplaces.

So what, you might say. Well thorough the scientific management of people, known as "human capital", little Billy and Susie will no longer be Billy or Susie but numbers in a system, funneled into specific tasks in society based on assessment results, behavioral data, or merely just a need for more widget makers. Just like in the social efficiency movement, our children are seen as future workers, machines of labor, no longer unique individuals with dreams and desires but robots called human capital, scientifically designed to serve the corporate machine.

From , a well renowned document full of information worth reading, comes this:

"The workforce sector wants information about prior training in 
high school and postsecondary institutions as a foundation for 
working with both education sectors to address identified skill gaps 
in the workforce, as well as to identify equity gaps with respect 
to demographic representativeness by job category. Knowing the 
education sectors’ capacity to respond (i.e., by increasing the flow 
of graduates with particular skill sets) will also help the state decide 
whether to invest in education to address skill gaps or establish 
incentives to induce more workers with needed skills to move 
into the state. Moreover, linking with the education sectors would 
provide labor market analysts with a wealth of data that would be 
useful for examining equity in employment."

Did you read that? By increasing the flow of graduates with a particular skill set? can they do this? Let's scale this idea down quite a lot, to ten students, numbered 1-10.
1-3 want to be doctors,
4, a firefighter,
5-7, teachers,
8-10 truck drivers.
However, the workforce sector has an overabundance of teachers and truck drivers but needs more soldiers and HR managers. So, by collecting data and seeing which child might possess a personality for the military, or by, God forbid, changing a child's educartional path completely, suddenly you have...
1-2 doctors.
3 became a soldier
4, firefighter
5, teacher
6 became an HR manager
7, solider
8, truck driver
9, solider
10, HR manager

Suddenly, business, through data has manipulated the future, manipulated our children through education to shape a desired future, by increasing the flow of graduates with a specific set of skills.

Is this what we want for our children?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Common Core Deja Vu

The Common Core Standards  (CCSS) movement, which prepares students to be work or college ready, is a facet of the P20 pipeline- the process of managing education and outcomes of children from preschool through college, the workforce, and perhaps beyond. This idea, however, is hardly new. Just think of it as Human Capital Management 2.0. Yep. Human capital is a buzzword of the CCSS and especially P20 pipeline, and it is synonymous with social efficiency. Now, in the 21st century, we have metadata to track, plot, assess, and manage every person’s every action if we wish…something we lacked with the Human Capital Management 1.0 version, but have now with longitudinal data systems in place.


I want to give a brief overview of Human Capital Management 1.0 , aka Social Efficiency, an essential tenet of the Progressive Era, circa approximately 1890-1930. You can read up on Social Efficiency here but basically it is the scientific management of society to make a more efficient, almost utopian society with everyone in their place, everything running like a well-oiled machine.  Author Joel Spring said it well;  social efficiency educators was made up of an acceptance of a collective society and a belief that an individual should be devoted to a specialized task in society. An educational pioneer, Elwood Cubberley, stated in his 1905 disseration, “schools were to be factories] "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products... manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry” This meant, for education, the advent of IQ testing, SATs, and the backdrop for the standardized testing movement. Add in a splash of eugenics, and the dream was to assess students, track them, and find their perfect role in society. This often meant, at the time, that the more inferior peoples such as blacks or women, were pigeonholed into an education that denied them of classical education; no more algebra, philosophy, Latin, Greek mythology….and instead an education to train them for the workforce such as manual labor or homemaking.  An educational pioneer, Elwood Cubberley, stated in his 1905 dissertation, “schools were to be factories] "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products... manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry”  Does this sound a little familiar, or at least echo our fears of CCSS? It should.

I could go on and on about this but will instead just leave you with a few websites and quotes to engage your mind; you can connect the dots if you will.

“The standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning that will prepare America’s children for success in college and work”  and  "With common standards and assessments, students, parents, and teachers will have a clear, consistent understanding of the skills necessary for students to succeed after high school and compete with peers across the state line and across the ocean."


“P-20 initiatives connect educational systems for increased student performance, greater efficiency, improved outcomes, and smoother pathways throughout a student's career. These factors are of critical importance in a competitive global economy.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) is working on several fronts to help ensure that connections between early childhood, elementary and secondary education, and higher education can create a more seamless pipeline for Missouri students. “….and….”MDHE is committed to improving linkages between K-12 and higher education data systems to facilitate data-driven decision-making. As the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is transitioning to their unique-identifier, unit-record student and teacher data system (MOSIS), both departments are working to insure that MDHE's EMSAS data and DESE's MOSIS data will facilitate appropriate and meaningful longitudinal data analysis on student performance and teacher excellence.” …and….” MDHE's commitment to streamlining educational systems across the P-20 spectrum extends to the formative education and critical transitions in early childhood education.  (each state reflects a similar mission)


“The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of 22 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.”


“Online Assessment Roadmap 2014 to learn how using more innovative question types, online delivery, automated and artificial-intelligence powered scoring engines, and immediate web-based reporting of results can transform learning. This concrete planning and implementation resource will help states and districts navigate and mitigate the challenges of transitioning to online assessments. and, “Evidence-based standard setting resources to understand and plan for how to shift use of cut scores to track progress toward college and career readiness.”  (Which links to a fascinating article full of “gold” via the pearson ed site )

“This project, “Ho‘okele,” will develop a P20 statewide longitudinal data system (P20 LDS) to track

individuals’ participation, progress and performance from early childhood education to the workforce.1

The project will enable use of the longitudinal, inter-agency data to improve educational and workforce

development outcomes, achieving Hawai‘i’s goal for human capital development”  and…”The P20 LDS application proposes six major outcomes representing a range of investments—human

capital, financial, technological, and institutional—to develop a robust P20 LDS that supports improved

student outcomes and educational attainment. The outcomes include a multi-state data exchange among

western states encompassing K-12, postsecondary and workforce longitudinal data from Hawai‘i, Idaho and Oregon; the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) will coordinate the “Multi-State  Human Capital Development Data System.””


I strongly encourage you to visit each referenced site and explore all that is there; the drive for change and control of our children is very overt and evident if you just do a little digging.