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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

Have you considered adding running to your exercise regimen but not sure how to get started? Are you concerned about past injuries? Runners, from experienced to beginner, are sidelined every year due to injury. Physical Therapy Options (PTO) wants to help runners get off to a great start this fall and is pleased to offer the community an opportunity to receive a free comprehensive “Running Analysis.”

 

Physical Therapist Lisa Coors, founder of PTO, views this offering as part of PTO’s mission to help patients live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. 

Yard sale announced

 

The Garden City Bird Sanctuary/Tanners Pond Environmental Center recently announced its annual Fall Benefit Yard Sale. The sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., located outdoors inside the front gate at the sanctuary. Vendors are being sought. A 10 x 17 foot selling area is $45 for the day. (Includes space for selling & space to park one car next to selling space)


Sports

Dance Conservatory Program

 

The Garden City Recreation Department’s Dance Conservatory Program is pleased to announce the start of registration for its upcoming 2014-15 season. Director Felicia Lovaglio, along with Mary Searson and the rest of her staff, are excited to start off another fantastic year. The dance conservatory offers classes to Garden City residents ages 3 through adult which are non-performance based. Age is determined by the start date of the desired class. 

 

Note: Registration is by mail only until Sept. 23. Participants MUST be the required age by the start of the program in order to register. 

 

Each session costs $220 for 22 weeks of class. The schedule and fees for this year’s youth classes are as follows (all classes are 55 minutes long unless otherwise noted): 

Fall Children’s Tennis Classes

Registration for the start of the Fall 2014 Indoor Tennis Program for Children has begun at the Community Park Tennis Center. Walkins and non-resident children attending Garden City Public Schools* will be accepted beginning Sept. 11. Please make checks payable to the “Inc. Village of Garden City." Please note—classes are not considered day care and can not be declared for tax exemption.

* Non resident children who would like to register for the tennis program must prove they attend one of the Garden City Public Schools. Proof must accompany registration. An additional $50 fee will pertain to anyone in this category.

10 weeks of classes—classes will begin Thursday, Sept. 18


Calendar

Living With Pulmonary Fibrosis Program - September 18

Harpeth Rising Concert - September 19 

JV Football - September 20


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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