Category Archives: Data Mining

Goodbye Teachers, Hello Computers?

Teachers have known for a while that their jobs were in jeopardy. There has been a push to get teachers to become facilitators in the classroom versus instructors in education. You can see it in the Nellie Mae publications and grant applications focused on “student centered learning.” You can see it being pushed by the education establishment and ed tech companies that will profit off of their tech products.

The corporate backers like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and former Governor Jeb Bush, have all backed redesigning public ed into the dumbed-down workforce model. Just look at who Trump nominated for U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Betsy DeVos served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a group led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. We’ve gone from Corporate education reform under Obama to Corporate education reform under Trump.

The Philanthropy Roundtable that Betsy DeVos chaired put out a report strongly in favor of massive data mining of students.

The Philanthropy Roundtable, which DeVos chaired, published a report called Blended Learning: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Supporting Tech-assisted Teaching that lauds the Dream Box software that “records 50,000 data points per student per hour”(p.33 of pdf) and does not contain a single use of the words “privacy,” “transparency” [as in who receives that data and how it is used to make life-changing decision for children], or “consent.”

Will DeVos continue to promote the corporate data-mining efforts of enterprises such as Dream Box and Knewton, whose CEO bragged about collecting “5-10 million data points per user per day,” described in your organization’s report?

In addition, this means less teachers in working in the school district. That may save on personnel costs but does this improve academic outcomes?
(p.37 of pdf)
The Learning Lab model allowed Rocketship to operate with roughly six fewer teachers per school, meaning that “we save 25 percent of salary costs,” says Danner. “When you have that, you can grow without raising additional capital.” Even after paying its smaller number of teachers better than other schools, Rocketship is able to educate a child for about 15 percent less than California’s annual per-pupil allotment, and it plows that margin of funds into, among other things, teacher training and opening new schools. Hence, the model should be able to expand like successful businesses do, without constantly needing new nancial angels or capital infusions.

The PUSH for computerized learning versus teachers instructing children, is part of the agenda within the Corporate reform model. This is a great way for the tech industry to make profits, but where is the data that it benefits students?

It’s up to school boards and parents to make sure that if computers are replacing teachers it’s not a shift in costs from a qualified teacher to a tech industry focused on profits with no real benefits to children.
Remember to ask for PROOF that the computer based instruction is better for your children in terms of screen time and academic progress. If there is a reduction in instruction from teachers, should there be a reduction in salaries and benefits to the teaching staff?

If you are parent with children in the public school system and concerned about the data-mining, look for ways to use materials that are not connected to technology devices. In other words, ask for a book for your child to read instead. Having the tech industry in a position to collect all kinds of data points on your children means that once this information is out there, it most likely can never be removed. Where will it end up? Who will control the information stored on your child?

For more information check out: What’s Better in the Classroom – Teacher or Machine?

Less TESTING with PACE? Think again

States have been ditching the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) for a few years now. Public backlash has caused some governors to reassess whether they should be using the highly controversial assessments in their public schools.

In NH, Governor Hassan and the bureaucrats at the DoE still can’t admit the SBA was a huge mistake on their part but since parents are refusing to let their kids take it, they are finding other ways to force compliance. The latest assessment scheme they came up with is the PACE assessments.

PACE assessments are in a few pilot schools throughout New Hampshire. Parents are starting to realize that even though they were told there’d be less testing with PACE, that simply isn’t true.

A recent post from a parent in a PACE district who refuses to let her kids take the standardized assessments confirmed this on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 2.22.04 PM

More info on PACE

More Psychological Profiling of NH Students Coming

Thanks to Education Liberty Watch for notifying us of another way the Feds are gathering psychological data on our children. Make sure you REFUSE the Smarter Balanced, SAT, PACE assessments and the NAEP.

Constitutional, Statutory, & Privacy Concerns with Assessing Mindsets in the NAEP
The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) is planning to assess non-academic social and emotional “mindsets” like “grit” as well as school climate in next year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Here is a summary of the many problems with this approach with details available at Mindsets in NAEP – final:

It is unconstitutional – There is NO constitutional, statutory or moral authority for the federal government to conduct psychological research on innocent American school children via what is supposed to be an academic test.

It violates federal statute prohibiting such activity in one or both of two ways.

It goes against several Supreme Court precedents affirming parent’s inherent rights to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

These types of questions are highly subjective as admitted by leading experts and organizations in the fields of education and mental health.

Because of the weak and gutted federal privacy law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), this very sensitive data can be shared with various agencies of the federal government and third parties and re-disclosed and used for “predictive tests,” which are notoriously subjective and incorrect.

This subjective, allegedly predictive data may then well be used to make life altering decisions for children affecting college entrance, employment, etc.

According to information uncovered at recent US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings, the state of data security at the US Department of Education is appallingly bad, so this sensitive data that the government should not have in the first place is not safe from hackers.

It seems that members of Congress and parents’ rights legal firms are starting to get interested in this situation. Please contact your US Senators and members of the US House of Representatives and ask them to oppose this illegal and unconstitutional plan via the power of the purse, especially if they are on the following committees:

US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

US House Education and Workforce Committee

US Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee

Thank you and stay tuned!

WARNING: Invasive Survey Coming to Keene from UNH

If you live in KEENE, make sure you read through this new survey. How can a survey claiming to be anonymous start out with specific questions that can identify the student?
There is nothing about where this information goes.
Who owns this data? What will be done with it?
They are asking the kids to incriminate themselves. Did anyone tell the students of their Constitutional right to NOT self incriminate?
Maybe it would be a good idea to require your district to inform students of their 5th Amendment rights prior to taking these kinds of surveys.

http://www.keene.k12.nh.us <–link to the school web site

http://khs-sau29-nh.schoolloop.com/file/1407475219031/1341893260211/6099193909579020548.pdf <—LINK to the survey

Keene Survey UNH

REMEMBER WHEN PARENTS IN ANDOVER, MASS. WERE ANGRY ABOUT THE LAST SEX SURVEY BY UNH?
http://www.wmur.com/news/unh-sex-survey-given-to-high-schoolers-draws-concern/38326448

Parent Right to Know: Data Request Letter

Data
Date

Dear ______________________, (School, and District, and State Department of Education)* (e.g.Dr. Virginia Barry,Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Education, 101 Pleasant Street Concord, NH 03301-3860, Virginia.Barry@doe.nh.gov, (603) 271-3144)

Per the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Title 34: Education Part 99-Family Educational Rights and Privacy, Subpart D, I am requesting the following:

(1). Please provide a record of each request for access to and each disclosure and re-disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records of my child (ren) listed here:
______________________________________________________________

For each request or disclosure the record must include:

(i) The parties* who have requested or received personally identifiable information from the education records; and

(ii) The legitimate interests** the parties had in requesting or obtaining the information.

An educational agency or institution must obtain a copy of the record of further disclosures maintained under paragraph (b)(2) of this section and make it available in response to a parent’s or eligible student’s request

(i) The names of the additional parties to which the receiving party may disclose the information on behalf of the educational agency or institution; and

(ii) The legitimate interests under §99.31 which each of the additional parties has in requesting or obtaining the information.

(2)(i) A State or local educational authority or Federal official or agency listed in §99.31(a)(3) that makes further disclosures of information from education records under §99.33(b) must record the names of the additional parties to which it discloses information on behalf of an educational agency or institution and their legitimate interests

*Please provide names and contact information for the parties

**Please provide data elements requested and disclosed, and their purpose

(2). Additionally, please provide a record of all parties who have received my child’s de-identified or aggregate data, along with the legitimate interests.
By receipt of this letter, you affirm your responsibility to comply with Federal law and you acknowledge the information you provide is accurate.

Thank you,

Parent or Guardian
Contact information of Parent or Guardian.

Federal Law sited at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=34%3A1.1.1.1.33.4&rgn=div6&se34.1.99_135

Fed Govt Law

Hat/Tip Parent’s Right To Know from Missouri Watchdog

IMPORTANT Information for Parents in Rochester on Drug/Alcohol Ed

This is an extremely important issue to parents right now!! However it’s important to first know the qualifications of the individual who will be working directly with children. They should be LICENSED and an expert in their field.

1) What information are they collecting on the children they work with ?
2) Where does that information go?
3)Who has access to it?
4)What ethics codes does the counselor follow?
5)Are parents notified if their child is working with the counselor?
6)Do parents have access to all records kept on their children?
IT IS CRITICAL TO FIND OUT IF ANY INFORMATION LIKE THIS GOES INTO THE STATE LONGITUDINAL DATA-BASE!!

I am reposting as I have done my research and I am very concerned with this. First, an individual with an MSW CPS degree is only a social worker (CPS) stands for child protective service.
What qualifications does this individual have to be counseling our children?
Second, there is a huge difference between a school psychologist and a clinical psychologist approximately 1/2 the education.
Third, with all the money spent by the district to educate our children about drugs and alcohol, why do we need a program to correct erroneous perceptions about substance use?
This should be an opt in program, not an opt out. This is another waste of precious academic time. The district runs these programs because, unfortunately, parents are very busy and do not get a chance to read everything that comes home, that is if their student even brings it home. Speak with your children daily and find out what is happening in school. Nothing should be a secret.

Rochester drug counseling

NH Parents Growing More Concerned About Google Data-Mining

We have been hearing from parents across New Hampshire who are concerned about the recent revelation that Google has been spying on students. We encourage parents to contact their district superintendent immediately and ask how they are going to address this problem. It’s also important to request that administrators contact ALL parents in the district so everyone is fully informed. Always copy your local school board members on correspondence.

Attending a local school board meeting and addressing your concerns during public comments is another way to approach the subject.

We are going to post a recent e-mail sent to on New Hampshire Superintendent. We thought it would help other parents. We were given permission to share it but have removed the names of the individuals for their privacy.

Hi ****,

I read a couple of articles about Google getting caught collecting and data mining children’s personal information. I have included links to those articles below. Can you please tell me how *** is dealing with this and protecting our kids since almost ALL of the students have Google accounts? My 2nd and 4th Graders recently told me that they each are writing a story about themselves in their Google documents. Red flags went up as soon as I heard this. I had to tell them to NOT put their DOB or address in there because it’s personal information. They were confused because they often talk about when their birthdays are and where they live with other kids. I don’t understand why they can’t write their stories on paper, especially such stories with personal information in them. Why does it have to be on the internet?

http://www.alternet.org/education/google-spying-40-million-k-12-students-privacy-advocates-call-federal-sanctions#.VmdNac8JHPY.facebook

https://www.eff.org/press/releases/google-deceptively-tracks-students-internet-browsing-eff-says-complaint-federal-trade

Thank you,

STOP the reauthorization of “No Child Left Behind” / ESEA

CALL TODAY!!!
We only have a couple of days before the U.S. Congress votes on ESEA!
VOTE NO ON ESEA
CALL TODAY!!
Rep. Frank Guinta (202) 225-5456
Rep. Annie Kuster (202) 225-5206

What to expect if this passes?
Well the draft bills are telling…..The federal government will dictate how and what your children learn from now on.
You will lose your parental right to guide your child’s learning in public school through a local Board Of Ed.
It will be the dumbing down of America.
It will be the “push out” of traditional teachers, in substitution for Chrome Books and $15/hr digital facilitators. (Remember the curriculum will be aligned to what the Feds want and carried through those digital devices)
It will be constant testing and assessment – either through what we see today or on digital real time platforms.
It will be the massive collection of very private data on your children.
It will be the funneling of children into specific career tracks early in their K12 experience.
Did you move somewhere because the schools were great? Forget the investment – EVERY CHILD gets the exact same education. No innovation will be allowed. This is unpiloted, unknown, and unethical.

Do you believe your school or state is not being effected by ‘common core’ right now? If this passes, it doesn’t matter if you live in a state that says it isn’t common core. It is a federal law that will supercede all others.

Please, please, please call your Congressman/woman today and leave a simple message that you want them to VOTE NO on ESEA – if for no other reason than it is irresponsible to take a bill this enormous with such huge implications to the next generation – and try to slam it through in 48 hours with no oversight.

Thanks all!

Parents are asking: Who is protecting student privacy?

Common Core has been the “issue” in education and has been part of the vetting process as we move forward in this presidential election. We’ve posted a link to the candidate’s score on a “report card,” based on where they stand on this issue.

Within that report card, candidates are also graded on how well they’ve addressed other concerns like, student privacy. This is an issue that most of the candidates have not talked about.

Since we have direct access to the candidates, we are encouraging everyone to start questioning the candidates about the student data privacy issue. Ask about closing the loophole now in the FERPA law that allows personal information on your child to be shared without your knowledge or consent. What would they do to re-instate parental rights over their child’s data?

It’s important to note that the U.S. Department of Education is under extreme criticism for their own lack of security on student, parent and family data.

Why aren’t the candidates talking about this? Why aren’t they addressing this important issue? Maybe it’s time to TAKE THIS ISSUE TO THE CANDIDATES.

Read more about that scathing review:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: INFORMATION SECURITY REVIEW
TAKEAWAYS:
• The Department of Education (DoEd) has at least 139 million unique social security numbers in its Central Processing System (CPS).
• Reminiscent of OPM’s dangerous behavior, DoEd is not heeding repeat warnings from the Inspector General (IG) that their information systems are vulnerable to security threats.
o In the IG’s latest report, there were 6 repeat findings and 10 repeat recommendations.
o The Department scored NEGATIVE 14% on the OMB CyberSprint for total users using strong authentication
o The Department received an “F” on the FITARA scorecard
• The Department maintains 184 information systems.
o 120 are managed by outside contractors
o 29 are valued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as “high asset”
• The National Student Loan Database (NSLD) houses significant loan borrower information. There are 97,000 accounts/users with access to this significant data yet only 5,000, less than 20%, have undergone a background check to establish security clearance.
o The IG penetrated DoEd systems completely undetected by both the CIO or contractor
• The Department needs significant improvement in four key security areas:
o Continuous monitoring
o Configuration management
o Incident response and reporting
o Remote access management