Thursday, 23 January 2014 12:44
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.
Submitted by the Garden City Public School District
Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00
Michael Stano of Garden City High School has been named a New York State Master Teacher by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“The Master Teacher Program creates a community of teacher experts dedicated to providing a first-rate learning experience for students across New York, and contributes to our efforts to attract and retain the best and the brightest in our STEM classrooms,” Cuomo said.
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 00:00
You hear the horn sound multiple times a day, around the clock, but did you ever wonder what happens during the critical moments after a distress call is made to the firehouse? Who are the volunteers who are stopped in their tracks at the sound of that horn and dash off to help a neighbor in need? You’d be surprised to learn that it could be the gentleman you see walking his dog after work in the evenings, the woman you see standing at the bus stop with her children every morning, or even the young man you used to see playing with his friends in front of your house.
Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00
Registration For The Community Garden Begins
If you are interested in obtaining a plot in Garden City Recreation and Parks’ Community Garden, it is now time to register. Applications will be accepted until May 1. Plots will then be assigned for planting around May 10. If more applications are received than the number of plots available, all applications will be put in a lottery and winners will be notified.
Spring/Summer Adult Tennis Registration Forms Available
The Garden City Recreation Department will conduct evening tennis lessons for adults who are residents of the Inc. Village of Garden City at the Community Park tennis facility. The lessons will run for one hour each week in three sessions during the spring/summer months. The registrant has a choice of a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday class and a choice of time. There will be a maximum of four players per court. The dates and fees will be as follows:
Friday, 18 April 2014 08:33
Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5
The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This Year Three hunt will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.
Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.