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Instead of student privacy being a “serious political issue” shouldn’t it be viewed as a “serious moral issue”?  For the NSBA, it’s *CYA* (it’s not what you think)


I’m trying to discover my gentler side during Lent, achieve a deeper level of spiritual reflection and seek out truth.  It’s difficult for those of us who read government documents, listen to the spin from state educational agencies and education reformers who stand to profit handsomely from the implementation of Common Core.  It’s not easy to not be deeply concerned about the children, the culture, the lack of proper political process in the adoption of Common Core, the data mining required in the AARA funding, and the future of public education.

I’m tired of being told I have a tin foil hat on by state representatives when the research presented to him and his committee comes from government websites.  I’m tired of the disconnect and claims that make no sense, such as when Commissioner Chris Nicastro in one breath says the standards are “the floor” and in the next breath, she says they are “higher”.  Which is it?

I’m tired of CCSSI changing the reasons we should love Common Core.  Let’s go through the original claims and then the retractions or tweaking of those claims from CCSSI and its cheerleaders such as The US Chamber of Commerce, The Fordham Institute, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Governor (and head of NGA) Mary Fallin, et al:

  • They standards are internationally benchmarked, now they are not
  • The standards will make kids STEM ready, now they won’t
  • The standards will make kids college/career ready….but not for those 4 year colleges “most parents would aspire their children to attend”…meaning 2 year college is the bar, not a college requiring STEM classes
  • Missouri (or insert your state’s name (here) is using Missouri Learning Standards…even though when you click on Missouri Learning Standards….what comes up?  Common Core State Standards
  • Missouri won’t “share” information with the Federal government….but it will allow SBAC to “access” MO information which can then be accessed by the USDOEd

I am tired of the lies, the half-truths and total disregard of parent, taxpayer and student concerns.   I came upon an article today about the NSBA (taking a cue from the USDOEd) wanting to protect student data that crystallizes how unimportant parents are in wanting to stop data mining of their children.   From The National School Board Association (another private organization like NGA/CCSSO determining school policy) and U.S. Department of Education issues guidelines on student data privacy:

As is often the case with emerging technologies, the interpretation of existing laws such as FERPA and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment are slower to evolve than the technology itself. These issues continue to be at the forefront of discussions among educators, software companies, legal experts, and others with a stake in student data privacy. MEW note: where are the parents mentioned?

“Student data privacy has received a great deal of national attention in recent months, with many groups working to develop resources for their own constituents and collaborating with others to determine best practices,” said National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “NSBA has been a part of this national conversation.”  MEW note: has anyone asked parental permission to data mine their children?

NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) formed a working group on student privacy this year, which will issue a guide for school attorneys this spring.  “We are producing a resource for school attorneys that will help them navigate the legal landscape and identify best practices for student data privacy protection that go beyond legal compliance,” said COSA Chair Allison Brown Schafer of the North Carolina School Boards Association. NSBA will issue guidance for school board members.

“As an education community, we have to do a far better job of helping teachers and administrators understand technology and data issues so that they can appropriately protect privacy while ensuring teachers and students have access to effective and safe tools,” U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “We must provide our schools, teachers, and students cutting-edge learning tools — and we must protect our children’s privacy. We can accomplish both — but we will have to try harder to do it.” MEW note: did anybody ask the parents their view on data mining children for use by governmental agencies and third parties?  Are the parents/students getting paid for the information used by these entities?

This last sentence reminds me of this administration’s oft used phrase when explaining its failed policies….”it’s hard work”. I call this NSBA statement total malarkey.  Instead of trying to retroactively safeguard mined student data which is mandated via the four assurances, it should be advocating to let each individual school district decide what technology its students need and help districts set their own privacy guidelines.  NSBA should be advocating to protect children’s privacy by not condoning data mining other than in the aggregate and with very few fields.  NSBA should have been in the forefront stopping CCSS in its tracks in 2009 and empowering school districts to do the same.  Just NOW it is concerned about “best practices” when it comes to the question of student data mining?  Here is NSBA’s organizational statement on its 2011 tax return:



It sure looks like the NSBA it is in lock step with the Common Core proponents’ goals.  The NSBA can’t create guidelines that will guarantee to keep individual data safe.  Even the Defense Department gets hacked.  So here’s a novel idea: don’t ask for personally identifiable data and don’t mandate it.  The NSBA just wants to instruct school district lawyers how to have a disclaimer on any data information that gets leaked so the district won’t get sued.  NSBA could care less about your student; it just wants to “try harder” for legal language keeping it and the districts from facing future lawsuits.  It’s not about opting out.  It’s about CYA:  covering the district’s assets:

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