family questions
Are these the type of questions on a Missouri student survey that will make students STEM ready? Or are they asked for a different reason?


Parents are concerned about surveys their children are answering at school and wondering why invasive personal information is being requested from schools on student behaviors, attitudes and beliefs.  Today we have three examples of school surveys given in Utah, New Hampshire and Missouri.

Did you see the story about the school wanting to know from students what prescription medicine is in their home that their parents are using?  From Public School Assigns Students to Inventory Parents’ Medicine Cabinets:

In Mapleton, Utah, a middle school teacher assigned students to take an inventory of their parents’ medicine cabinets, and fill out a form reporting back “medication names, what the medication is being used for and if it’s still being used.”  KSL radio reports:

What’s in your medicine cabinet? It’s a pretty personal question, but that was the assignment students in one health class at Mapleton Junior High School brought home.

Concerns were raised when a copy of the assignment started circulating on social media websites. Nebo School District officials said not only was the assignment a violation of privacy, but also state HIPPA laws.

“This was an innocent mistake,” said Lana Hiskey with Nebo School District. “It was part of a health unit. (The teacher) wanted parents to know how to clean their medicine cabinets.”


Does that sound like a lame reason to have access to adults’ personal information?  The school wants this information so it can educate parents on how to clean their medicine cabinet?   Is this now the purpose of public education: to tell parents how to clean their medicine cabinet?  What business is it of the school to know medical prescription information for adults?


This Utah survey is just one survey asking personal information from students on parents.  Take a look at this from ‘Monitoring the Future’ survey given in New Hampshire.  The survey was provided to a parent after she requested for it from the school and she placed all the information in a pdf:


Monitoring the Future – Stop Common Core NH (pdf)…/Monitoring-the-Future-Survey.pdf


monitoring the future


Why would a private company want to measure the lifestyle values, attitudes and behaviors of public school students?  Survey questions begin on page 38 and ask questions about drug use, religious beliefs and information on parental educational attainment.  The survey stresses all answers are confidential, it received a ‘special Grant of Confidentiality from the US government’ and that students can be change agents by providing their answers.  From the survey pamphlet sent home to parents:


monitoring the future 2


What is a ‘special grant of confidentiality’?  FERPA?  Does that sound odd to you?  Who are ‘those who are in a position to change things’ and what ‘things’ are they talking about?  Who are these other ‘interested groups’ who receive the ‘special reports’?  Do you really think a survey allows students’ thoughts on government to be a pipeline to reach national leaders to set policy?


Missouri has its own surveys it gives students to determine drug use, attitudes, thoughts and behaviors, and these surveys are shared between various governmental agencies:


missouri student survey


Here are the agencies receiving information on survey results.  From Missouri Student Survey 2012 Report – MIMH:
missouri student survey 2
What sort of information is contained in the Missouri Student Survey: 2014 MSS Questionnaire ?(pdf).  It is similar to the ‘Monitor the Future’ survey from New Hampshire and asks questions about drugs, alcohol, parents and attitudes/beliefs.  It also states that the survey is confidential but as it is web based, how can confidentiality be assured when using a computer?  The surveys are identified by aggregate information (grade level, race, gender) and a school code so it is possible that any survey could be personally identifiable by this information, not to mention the information sent from the computer used to take the survey.


The previous information shows that Missouri student survey information will be shared with various agencies. The goal is to merge data with other state agencies for work development:


P-20 Education Report: An Employer Perspective: – Missouri … (pdf)

… Perspective: Where Does Missouri’s Workforce Come From? …. In 2009, Governor Nixon signed into law an expanded Missouri P-20 Council. The Council ..

(click on graphic to enlarge)

dese and data sharing


Why are these surveys being given in various states to measure student behavior, attitudes and beliefs?  Would these survey results be included in a student’s data set?  We are told these are anonymous, but we were also told the Common Core State Standards were internationally benchmarked and research based and those claims have been proved to be other than true.  So just exactly why are these personal questions being asked with the goal of data accessed and/or shared by/with other other agencies?


Published October 30, 2014

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