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'Question Of The Week'

This week’s Common Core “Question of the Week” focuses on the collection of student data by New York State for inBloom. A complete listing of the questions and answers to date is posted on the district website at http://www.gardencity.k12.ny.us, under “Common Core FAQs.”

Q: I’ve heard a lot about the collection of student data by New York State and its uploading to inBloom. What is inBloom?

A: InBloom debuted in February, 2013. Funded with $100 million in seed money from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, inBloom is an independent, non-profit data depository in Atlanta, GA. Its mission “is to provide a valuable resource to teachers, students and families, to improve education.”1

InBloom’s founder stated that a major purpose of the organization would be to develop a national data repository that offered a standardized method for collecting and storing student data. Data could then be used by states, districts, administrators, and teachers for tracking, interpreting, analyzing, comparing, and correlating multiple variables. Since data is currently compiled (and has been for many years) by districts and the state using a variety of templates and data fields, a standardized approach would allow deeper analyses. According to inBloom, software developers would then be encouraged to develop and supply products capable of refining the data toward guiding educational policy and best practices.

InBloom’s data is being stored on a web-based “cloud,” and “managed by Amazon.com”2; the collection of data uses “an operating system built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of News Corporation. News Corp. is owned by Rupert Murdoch, . . .”3

Q: Why is student data being uploaded to inBloom?

A: A component of the Board of Regents’ Reform Agenda, the reporting of student data is required by New York State. The state selected inBloom as the vendor for its student data repository. All New York State district and charter schools are required to participate in student data reporting as per the terms of the state’s acceptance of $700 million in Race to the Top (RTTT) funds. The privacy of student data is currently regulated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Some have proposed that an opt-out of all student data reporting be implemented. There is no current opt-out option in place for parents, students, or school districts in New York State. However, proposed opt-out student data legislation would have a crippling effect on school districts. For example, it would prevent the school district from using its student database to develop schedules, report cards, and bus routing, or even managing the middle and high school student cafeteria purchases.

Q: What data is reported?

A: New York State collects many data points. The fields include grades, test results, and attendance records. New York State previously uploaded 90 percent of data on 2.7 million public and charter school students to inBloom. The uploaded data was stripped of students’ names, however.

NOTE: As of Jan. 9, the State Education Department decided to postpone the uploading of more student information until April. The new data is slated to include personally identifiable information.

Q: How secure is the information?

The school district shares the concerns raised by parents and educators about data security. InBloom has publically reassured that its data depository is secure. However, concerns persist and, as a result, eight of the nine states that signed on to use inBloom have withdrawn, citing privacy and security issues. New York State is the sole remaining subscriber.

Q: What other concerns have been raised?

A: Beyond data security, other concerns include:

1. Accountability: InBloom is a non-profit corporation with a separate board of directors. Unlike public school districts, it is a non-governmental agency. Corporate policy makers are not elected or appointed and therefore are not directly accountable to the public.

2. Redundancy: New York State already collects student data, as do school districts and BOCES agencies. Garden City has used BOCES data warehouse service for at least 8 years to track student performance with excellent results.

3. Clear Purpose: The current goals of data warehousing with inBloom have been specified. Moving forward, the purposes and goals could change. There has been no expiration date set for inBloom-stored data.

Garden City is carefully monitoring the situation with inBloom. While it is required to comply with New York State laws, it recognizes the importance of protecting student privacy and preventing the commercialization of student information.

Watch this column in subsequent weeks for more answers to questions and concerns about the Common Core and other New York State mandates. You can also visit the District’s website (www.gardencity.k12.ny.us), under “Departments,” “Curriculum and Instruction,” to access useful links. If you are a resident of the school district and have a specific question you’d like answered about the Common Core or other pertinent education topics, please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

1. https://www.inbloom.org.

2. & 3. Class Size Matters: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Submitted by the Garden City Public School District

 

News

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com