A Bureaucrat Testifies to Where Student/Teacher Data is Sent & For What Purpose. Confirmed: It’s Cradle to Grave.
The blueprint for data retrieval has been in plain view for quite some time now if legislators and citizens were curious to know how/why data was being gathered on students and teachers. Some legislators (Republican and Democrat) scoffed at the idea on why parents would be alarmed that their child’s personally identifiable information was being disseminated to unknown entities without parental knowledge and/or permission, and attempts at data privacy bills were stalled by Republican leadership on the state level. A September 2013 MEW post, Common Core Standards and Data Collection Connection, described what data collection included, the purpose, the funding of the systems and how it aligned to the Common Core Standards:
The Common Core proponents say the standards are only that: standards. They contend they have nothing to do with the Longitudinal Data Systems and personally identifiable data collection.
Are there data collection requirements associated with the Common Core State Standards?
There are no data collection requirements of states adopting the CCSS. Standards define expectations for what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Implementing the CCSS does not require data collection. The means of assessing students and the data that results from those assessments are up to the discretion of each state and are separate and unique from the CCSS.
From the National PTA:
Is the federal government compiling student and family data into a federal database? No. Common Core is not a mechanism for federal data collection. Confusion over data collection likely comes from a misunderstanding of the National Education Data Model (NEDM), which is actually a framework describing the types of data that individual districts and states may choose to use to answer their own questions about policy. The NEDM does not contain any data, and there are no data collection requirements for the Standards. Federal law prohibits the reporting of aggregate data that could identify individual students. In addition, the federal government does not have access to the student-level information held in state databases.
What is their response to this Illinois Data Warehouse September 2010 pdf document?
It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards … The Model is designed to address unique, complex P20 SLDS relationships, business …. (and sometimes prenatally) to age 3; and preschool programs (also called …… along the educational pipeline, which in higher education involves the …
On page 2 it states there is a clear connection with data collection, state longitudinal data systems and in fact, the sets come preloaded with Common Core learning standards:
The State Core Model is a common technical reference model for states implementing state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) adoption work with funding from the Gates Foundation.
The Model includes early childhood (EC), elementary and secondary (K12), post-secondary (PS), and workforce (WF) elements, known collectively as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states. The State Core Model will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia.
The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting (EDEN/EDFacts), support SEA, LEA, and research data-driven decision making, and enable exchange of comparable data between education agencies. The Model could enable states to vastly reduce the number and burden of data collection by replacing 625 distinct Federal reporting types with record-level data collections. In addition, it is designed to support dropout early warning intervention systems (DEWIS), positive behavior intervention systems (PBIS) and response to intervention (RTI), balanced scorecard performance management, and provide and extensible model capable of accommodating future needs.
The Model is designed to address unique, complex P20 SLDS relationships, business rules, and entity factoring including: properly distinguishing “official” vs “un-official” (but possibly more current) data; source files with different and or non-existent start and end dates; complex relationships between organizations; and people with multiple roles in multiple organizations including student-teacher linkage.
It addresses student-teacher link, common assessment data model, and comes pre-loaded with Common Core learning standards. The State Core Model consists of three principle artifacts: (1) this document; (2) the “State Core Workbook” an Excel 2007 file containing the data dictionary and maps; and (3) a physical data model with scripts to support implementation of the model in major technical platforms. All three artifacts can be downloaded and used without charge or attribution from [the EIMAC group site].
1 . The State Core Model will be used by the CEDS Adoption Implementation Task Force (AITF) to validate, improve, and expand future versions of the standards. It incorporates and acknowledges work previously published, specifically the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data handbook, National Education Data Model (NEDM) v2.0, Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) recommendations, School Interoperability Framework (SIF) v2.4 specification, Post-Secondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) schemas, State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) State of State PS Data Systems report , and Common Education Data Standards v1.0.
In this new world, students will use not one, but multiple devices each day to access their own,pervasive “virtual laptop” to support a hybrid mix of online and face-to-face learner-centric experiences. Educators, parents, and other students will work in partnership with each student to achieve internationally benchmarked learning objectives at individualized pace
Like a car naviagation system, the learning management systems of the future will know the current location of each learner and be able to plot multiple, individualized paths to the Common Core and other academic goals. Students will be able to select preferences of modality of instruction, language, and time. And, like a car navigation system, even if they decide to take a detour, the system will always now where they are, where they want to do, and multiple paths to get there.
Standards & Assessments
The last two subjects are not central to the model, but are sufficiently important to warrant their own subjects. The first is Standards and Assessments. These entities have relationships to both People and Organizations.
· Assessment Result Sets (Student Scores)
· Learning Standards.
While ISBE may currently not have needs to store overly complex assessment information, it is expected that Illinois’s participation as a governing member of the PARCC assessment consortium will require more complex assessment data structures and maps to the Common Core academic standards.
Parents raising concerns about the need for data systems that were required for Federal mandates, the cost, the personally identifiable information given out on teachers and students were ridiculed as conspiracy theorists, even as the information was retrieved from government and NGO publications. Let’s read actual testimony from a Minnesota governmental bureaucrat in 2015 to determine just how much tin foil we really were wearing in 2013 regarding data privacy concerns. While this is not in Missouri, as all SLDSystems were designed to share information to align to Federal mandates, it doesn’t take too much critical thinking to know that Missouri and other states are probably quite similar From Minnesotans Against Common Core and A-B-C-D-E-F-G There’s Personally Iden-ti-fi-able in the SLD! Cradle to Grave Data System Includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on Children and Adults; Data Shared with National Data System:
We introduced you last time to the Minnesota SLEDS (State Longitudinal Education Data System). Here we’ll examine how the data is obtained and populated into the SLEDS as well as important testimony given before the Minnesota Data Practices Commission.
First, how are the data points obtained for the Minnesota SLEDS?
SLEDS student data originates at each public school and is sent to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) traveling on to Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). All three agencies jointly manage the SLEDS and receive student data from the schools or colleges in compliance with state mandates. http://sleds.mn.gov/ Private Schools may request to have their student data populated into the SLEDS. Data is entered into the system by teachers and parents. Parents enter their children’s data through MDE-approved vendors, like Infinite Campus and Skyward. These vendors send the information to the SLEDS. This is a list of vendors certified by the Minnesota Department of Education to receive your child’s data in order to configure to a common format before reaching the SLEDS. http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/SchFin/MARSSStuAcc/Vendors/058135
The Minnesota SLEDS Charter, set up on April, 2010 states:
“In the 2008 Minnesota legislative session, lawmakers passed statutory language allowing the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to share data elements each currently collects for purposes of conducting research to answer questions in the vision for the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System.” Here our Minnesota legislature compliantly followed federal law allowing state agencies to openly share data. And to what purpose?
Chapter 298: Sec.2. M.S. 2006, section 13.32. was amended to provide for:
Data Sharing; improving instruction. The following educational data may be shared between the Department of Education and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as authorized by the Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, section 99.31 (a)(6), to analyze instruction in school districts for purposes of improvement: (1)attendance data, including name of school or institution, school district, year or team of attendance, and term type: (2)student demographic and enrollment data; (3) academic performance and testing data; and (4) special academic services received by a student. Any analysis of or report on the data must contain only summary data.” http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/pdf/MNEdSLEDSCharterApril2010.pdf
Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), aka our Department of Labor, receives student data. Alessia Leibert, labor market analysist at DEED stated: “Minnesota has two systems. A SLEDS longitudinal system and a Local Database hosted at the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Workforce program participant data are included in both systems, with the exception of Vocational Rehabilitation. The DEED database is built on SQL Server 2012 and has a staging area and reporting capabilities.” National Listening Session of the US Dept of Labor, WIOA Initiative. http://www.doleta.gov/performance/pdf/WDQIWIOA_ListeningSession_chatresponses.pdf
Ms. Leibert, in her own words, frames student data as “workforce program participant data”.
What is the process of populating the data points in the SLEDS?
Each student (Early Learning Three and Four Year Olds – 12) in a public school, private school that has signed up to submit student data or homeschooler who is openly enrolled in a public school course or public school online, like K-12 Connections, is issued a State Student Identification (SSID) Number.
“The Student ID Validation System was initially created with error-free MARSS enrollment records that had been reported since Fiscal Year 1997. The state student identifiers are then sent to the MARSS system. http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=060426&RevisionSelectionMethod=latestReleased&Rendition=primary
“All children receiving early learning scholarships must be assigned a statewide student identification number. The statewide student identification number is the mechanism for identifying children participating in Early Childhood Family Education, School Readiness and Early Learning Scholarships and is critical to the discussion around the alignment of preschool programs and funding to K-12 data.” These are three and four year olds. ELSA SSID User Guide. http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=060426&RevisionSelectionMethod=latestReleased&Rendition=primary
SSID data is sent to the Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System.
“The Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) collects student data required by more than one area of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) via one system. Minnesota Automated Reporting Student Web Edit System (MWES) is the system used to gather Minnesota districts information.”
“This crucial data is the primary data Minnesota Department of Education uses to make payment of funds to local school districts. Data collected by MARSS are used for a variety of purposes, including state aid and levy calculations, federal grant allocations, federal and state civil rights reporting, unduplicated child count, and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).” Student ID Validation User Guide for Minnesota. http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=022337&RevisionSelectionMethod=latestReleased&Rendition=primary
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a federal database, also receives our children’s data. This now proves that Minnesota children have data collected on them within district, sent to a state data warehouse as well as a federal data warehouse. Was this information ever disclosed to you? As a parent, were you ever asked to have your children’s data taken and sent far, far away? Where else is the data sent?
What is “the vision of the SLEDS” and the very reason for their existence?
According to testimony given by Meredith Fergus, administrative lead for the SLEDS, of the SLEDS/Office of Higher Education, before the Data Practices Commission,
“The vision of the SLEDS is to assist in identifying viable pathways for individuals in achieving success for education and work. Four measurements are used:
- Predictors of long term individual success
- Designing targeted improvement strategies
- Improving data-driving decision making
- Meeting our federal funding requirements
When we accepted federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Bill, 2009), we also had federal funding requirements to fulfill.” Testimony from the Office of Higher Education is linked at the end of the article.
TRANSLATION: The SLEDS exist to ASSIST young people with identifying “viable” career pathways, utilizing targeted improvement strategies (testing and survey credentials) for their “long term individual success”! This is the meaning of data-driven decision making. Whether we realize it or not, no longer are 8th graders in consultation with their parents, in the decision making role. A student’s “data” is informing the decision and there will be plenty of it! And lastly, the SLEDS management must first and foremost meet federal funding requirements (read “policies”). In other words, compliancy to federal policies is much more important than transparency with the people of Minnesota.
Once a teen/pre-teen’s career pathway is confirmed, will their high school curriculum be amended to a narrow academic path? Will the student be enrolled on an academic path or a skills-only path? Middle schoolers and parents know themselves so much better than 3rd party tests and surveys recommended and sometimes mandated by schools and homeschool co-ops with the backing of the state/federal government.
What else is collected for the SLEDS? Ms. Meredith Fergus, administrative lead for the SLEDS, Office of Higher Education, a cabinet-level state agency, remarks in her testimony before the Minnesota Data Practices Commission on December 2014:
“Of course as always with any state agency reports, public information is summary data (only contains summary data). This is the data that’s currently included in the SLEDS. So from the Minnesota Department of Education, we do include information that they already have on K-12 enrollment assessments. We purchase results of the ACT exam, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. We do include information for adult basic education students. We do include information from the Kindergarten readiness sample as well as early childhood education for those programs affiliated with Minnesota Department of Education, Career and Technical Education information and staffing information.”
“From the Minnesota Office of Higher Education we include post-secondary enrollments and completions from all public and private institutions in the state of Minnesota. And that is mandated data collection affiliated with state received financial aid. We also include form the US Department of Education, OHE office, institutional characteristics that is information about colleges in Minnesota. From the Department of Economic Development, we do include the unemployment insurance detail records, a limited set of employer details and workforce training participant data. In addition from Pearson we purchase results of those who pass the GED and those who are Minnesota residents as well as Minnesota public high school graduates who enroll out of state. Their enrollments and completion information is from the National Student Clearinghouse.”
Ms. Fergus states that data collected by the SLEDS is collected in the form of summary data. However, Data Practices Commission chair, Representative Mary Liz Holberg, delves a bit deeper to find the personally identifiable information in the SLEDS. A link at the conclusion of the article will take you to the hearing itself.
Mary Liz Holberg: Question: “Are you linking individual unemployment figures with social security numbers with unemployment? What data are you getting from DEEDS specifically?”
Meredith Fergus, “We get the unemployment insurance detail records which does include the employees’ first name, last name, and social security numbers. ”
Mary Liz Holberg: “And so you hold social security numbers in your SLEDS data as well?”
Meredith Fergus: “Correct! Social security numbers are also a part of the OHE data collection.”
28:58 – Mary Liz Holberg: “So help me out here! Going back to… You list all these… We’re talking about pre-school programs etc. – Are we moving toward a position where an individual’s entire educational history ends up in some government database? Umm . . . I was a little surprised by the pre-school stuff, so help a non-education person understand why we would want to, in my vernacular, track students?”
29:38 – Meredith Fergus: Madam Chair:” We do! SLEDS data will contain the entire educational history of an individual to the extent that we can link that information across the system.”
30:32 – Mary Liz Holberg: “So, how do you stay out of the system if you are a parent and you don’t want your child’s information? How would you even know that the state is? Again using my term, tracking your student for research purposes?”
30:51 – Meredith Fergus: “Madam Chair, this is probably one of the areas we’ve struggled with the most. Most of the data that’s collected at MDE and OHE is state mandated data collection, so we do not allow the opt-out for students and parents. . . . So, for a student who opts out at even the college level to share their data it is still transmitted to the OHE.”
38:57 – Mary Liz Holberg: “I’m still struggling with some components of this. If somebody goes in and files for unemployment, do you – how – does DEED push that data to you or do you request it only on a limited set of individuals or how is the? I mean, education data is one thing. Where you’re working? How much you’re being paid? If you’re on unemployment? I mean, that just seems – you know, it’s a big step!!! So, how does the data subject know? Or even do they? Do you only collect those that you tag or are you getting all of the unemployment and wage data from DEED and then sorting it?”
39:47 Meredith Fergus: Madam Chair: “We actually receive the quarterly wage detail records, so we don’t receive information on unemployment insurance benefit recipients. That is the one thing. We do receive the quarterly wage records which is the data on all employees in all companies subject to unemployment insurance. The entire data file is loaded into SLEDS. There’s no filtering done. So it is all workers in Minnesota subject to UI. And that is under the new statutory authority that was granted two years ago.”
40:20 – Mary Liz Holbert: “See, I missed that! So you’re telling me that every single worker in the state of Minnesota that works for a company that is subject to unemployment insurance, their social security numbers and names are in the SLEDS data?”
40:36 – Meredith Fergus: “Correct, Madam Chair.”
40:38 – Mary Liz Holberg: “Wow! That doesn’t make me feel very good. I don’t know about you across this table.”
Thanks to the many researchers who helped with the testimony transcript. Find the testimony in its entirety here. http://www.lcc.leg.mn/lcdp/audio/20141217.MP3
What was presented in the Illinois Data Warehouse September 2010 pdf document has come true in the Minnesota SLDS in 2015.