Superintendent Association Tells Districts to “Mine Gold in Your Backyard.”
The American Association of School Administrators, AASA, represents the Voices of School Superintendents on Capitol Hill and is actively encouraging schools to mine [student] gold. From the AASA website comes this little nugget, encouraging districts to “apply a little creativity” and “capitalize” on “Intellectual Property” by Mining Gold in Your Backyard.
(By the way, AASA is not the only one cashing in on kids. You may recall a March 2016 Congressional Hearing on the use of student data for research, where one of the panelists, Dr. Jane Hannaway, a researcher for AIR and Georgetown University, exuberantly stated that Student Data from the SLDS is a Gold Mine.)
But, back to the American Association of School Administrators, AASA, who represent School Superintendents. The AASA website expands on this student data goldrush and gives several suggestions on how to leverage district resources, such as making cash on disaggregating student data, monitoring student computer access, tracking student lunch purchases or student health records:
“You may have on-site technology staff members who write code to disaggregate standardized test data, monitor student and faculty computer access, control student records, or track student lunch purchases or health records. Specialized spreadsheets to record bus maintenance records, budgets or substitute teacher assignments also are valuable resources. Check with department personnel to determine what they have developed to help them in their jobs. If your personnel need those programs, chances are other schools need them as well. If you can combine them into a system of documents or programs to accomplish a job category, you have created a turnkey marketable product. However, Hirsch warns that schools seldom have the resources to perform tech support on software they sell.”
“How can you capitalize on these IP resources? Consider what you have that the market would want. Would teachers snap up a set of 5th-grade math assessments correlated to the state’s high-stakes test? What about lesson plans that creatively tackle all the objectives in the state-mandated curriculum?
Schools are finding their budgets stretched tighter and tighter, so you don’t want to let intellectual property opportunities slip through your fingers. By applying a little creativity to the collection and control of your resources, you can have a publication and licensing stream that will showcase your district, provide some return on your investment and manage your district property.”-AASA [emphasis added]
Is that how this national association of Superintendents sees children? Are children simply a return on investment? Are children District property? Are children a product?
If you disagree with the idea of children being a commodity, schools making money from marketing student data, student test scores, student data trackers, data dashboards etc., then now is the time to say something. SAY NO.
Remind schools: Children are more than data makers.
STUDENTS SHOULD OWN THEIR OWN DATA. Students create their data; it should be their intellectual property to decide to share, or not.
*Interesting side note on AASA’s own backyard. Look at some of their partners.
With big names like Naviance, McGraw Hill, and Amazon as partners, you might be wondering, “Who does AASA, the “voice of Superintendents” represent: students or big corporations and so-called EduPreneurs?
We will leave you with this AASA statement that just about sums it up:
“A partnership with AASA is the perfect opportunity to promote the goals, products and services of your organization to key decision makers in the K-12 marketplace.”
Maybe parents need to give money to schools so they can have a say, and be “key decision makers in K-12” … Oh wait, they do. It’s called tax dollars. It is time for schools (and Superintendents) to listen to parents and represent what is best for children, not the marketplace.