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
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 00:00
It was announced at the August Stewart Manor Board of Trustees meeting that the Elmont Memorial Library recently reneged on a deal to place a library drop-box in Stewart Manor Village Hall. The box would have allowed the Village’s elderly residents a more convenient option for returning books. According to the Board, the deal was all but done before the library backed out at the last minute.
“They offered us the world and we got crumbs. Rocks, really,” said Stewart Manor Mayor Gerard Tangredi.
Saturday, 23 August 2014 00:00
Although a bit unsure at first, all Foofa needs is a little bit of love and patience to bring out his true affectionate self. A favorite with the handlers, Foofa is proving an excellent student with his training, loves long walks on the trail, and enjoys his “pampering” sessions with petting and brushing.
Just like the Mario character, this little guy will keep you smiling all day long. Yoshi happily greets all people he meets, gets along well with his fellow canines, and loves long walks and petting sessions. Yoshi would make a wonderful addition in just about any home.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 09:20
Fall Roller Hockey Programs Announced
The Garden City Recreation and Parks Department will once again offer various roller hockey programs this fall for both youth & adults who reside in the Inc. Village of Garden City. Whether you played in the past or looking to get involved, there is no better time to sign up and experience all the fun. All programs take place at the roller rink located at Community Park. Please note at this time, the recreation department is just announcing its programs. Fees and registration information will be announced at a later date.
This season, the roller hockey programs are broken down into grades. Please pay careful attention as grades and dates/times have changed:
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
The FLG 2018 girls have established themselves as one of FLG’s premier teams of the summer. Garden City’s Julia Kavan and Anna Mandaro at the midfield and Megan Sprotte and Ann Sullivan defensively led their team to three championships this summer. The girls “really started to gel and play as a unit,” said Coach McGinty, successfully executing new plays, transitioning well and crashing on defense. With the improvements across the board, the team hasn’t lost a game since the first tournament of the summer. These girls were leaders on and off the field and are taking FLG Girls Lacrosse to the next level.