SBAC and Utah’s Database

Dear Utah State School Board,

First, thank you for putting on last Thursday’s statewide forum.  It was an admirable display of freedom of speech and thought in America.  Both sides were treated with fairness and respect.

Second, I’m asking you to review some additional research as you weigh educational data-collection methods and as you advise school boards statewide on whether to submit to federal requests for local FERPA revisions.

We realize that oppressive federal controls are in place over the SBAC via our Cooperative Agreement http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf  and for that reason, I believe some state school board members may be wisely leaning toward getting Utah out of the SBAC testing consortium.

There are also unpleasant federal control attempts coming to Utah related to the longitudinal database Utah has built with a $9.6 million dollar federal stimulus grant.  Utah parents deserve to know that the aggregated, purely academic, standardized testing and data comparison of the past is very different from standardized testing set up now.  Testing scores will not be limited to academic data.  All data collected by schools will be up for perusal by virtually anyone, including the federal government.

According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment act, states had to agree to build database systems according to federally dictated standards to qualify for stimulus money. All 50 states are capable of maintaining extensive databases on public-school students. Utah’s database meets all essential components outlined by the federal government.

The database includes non-academic information. (According to the National Data Collection Model) it will include health-care history, nicknames, family income, family voting status, gestational age of students at birth, student ID number,  bus stop times, and so much more –and not just information about kids, but families.

You can view the National Data Collection Model database attributes (data categories) at http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary

As of January 3, 2012 the Department of Education implemented changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and overrode the privacy protections Congress included in FERPA, the Competes Act, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act where privacy protection of student information was secure.

The changes allow access to any of the information in the databases by anyone!  (They say “authorized representative” but later re-define it so loosely as to lose all power.)

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC, Creating a Longitudinal Data System, 2006) recommended that states include 10 essential elements when building a highly effective longitudinal data system, and Utah has all ten.  These include:

1. A unique statewide student identifier

2. Student-level enrollment, demographic and program participation information

3. The ability to match individual students’ test records from year to year to measure academic progress

4. Information on untested students

5. A teacher identifier system with the ability to match teachers to students

6. Student-level transcript information, including information on courses completed and grades earned

7. Student-level college readiness test scores

8. Student-level graduation and dropout data

9. The ability to match student records between the Pre–K–12 and postsecondary systems

10. A state data audit system that assesses data quality, validity, and reliability

Please ask our state contact, John Brandt, to explain and validate what I am saying.

John Brandt
Information Technology Director
Utah Office of Education
801-538-7953

john.brandt@schools.utah.gov

 

To reference the above, here’s Utah’s report to the national data collectors: http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/stateanalysis/states/UT/

Here’s Utah being praised by the national data collectors: http://secc.sedl.org/orc/rr/secc_rr_00088.pdf  (And lastly, when you have 45 minutes to watch this video, here’s a well researched and evidence-based  presentation by an Oklahoma think tank that clearly explains how the data collection councils (P-20 council) literally conflict with parent-empowering FERPA laws.  http://youtu.be/z1pwUSlqerg.)

If you think that none of the data collection technologies are federally relevant, think again.  We are told that we must allow all “stakeholders” access to this database.  The specific stakeholders are listed; included in the very lengthy list of who can or should read all this data are:  “Other public agencies serving children — to understand the relationship between their services and educational outcomes.”

Yes, that would absolutely include the federal government.

Thank you again for all your time, research, and the care you put in to our educational system.  I feel that we are all in this together and if we pool our research efforts we can come up with solutions that are free of federal intrusions and yet uphold educational excellence in this state.

 

Christel Swasey

Heber City

Teacher

5 Responses to SBAC and Utah’s Database

  • Chuck Bateman says:

    This is more than just a foot-in-the-door step towards either fascism or communism. Any movement by the government in these directions must be totally and completely stopped. There is no place for the building blocks of tyranny if the people in America wish to remain free. Our communities, counties, and states are being bought by Federal bureaucrats with money taxed from the people using a progressive income tax and then deficit amounts added to it. Every step of the processes is a building block towards fascism or communism. When will the people learn that this is a toxic and destructive path Utah is going down? Common Core is a mutant child of Agenda21 spawned by the United Nations. Avoid Common Core and everything else that comes out of Agenda21 and the United Nations!

  • What about kids with special needs or on IEPs? says:

    Oak, what about kids with special needs or students on IEPs? Will their sensitive data also be in the database where the Feds, research institutions, and all other “authorized” people can see it? What about psychological evaluations or records of discussions with a school counselor?

    • Renee says:

      In my research of the Federal FERPA Regulation CFR Part 99, it would allow any “authorized representative” which includes almost anyone for any reason to have access to your child’s “personally identifiable information (PII)” without parental consent.

      While, I am confident that our state and local districts are not currently collecting or reporting all the PII allowed under the federal FERPA regulation, but the point is that many could, especially if they revise their local FERPA policies to be in complaince.

      According to the revised Federal FERPA policy, PII includes: name, address, family members, ss#, biometric record (biological or behavioral characteristics used for automated recognition of an individual – Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.

      It also states in the FERPA regulation that they can do “predictive testing” on our children, which is a form a genetic testing used to detect gene mutations.

      This FERPA policy change went into effect Jan. 3, 2012 and the revision was made by the United States Dept. of Ed. The US Congress was bypassed in this process.

      Local School Boards around the state are revising their local FERPA policies to be in compliance with Federal law. Wasatch County just did! We are asking for a reversal.

      I would make sure that your local district doesn’t have any plans to follow suit. Contact all your elected representatives, local school leaders, and state school board! “We the people” need to make our voices heard.

  • Can Parents See Records the State is Keeping on their Child? says:

    …and is there any way for a parent/student to improve/clean up/fix/amend the records kept by the state (like cleaning up a bad credit history)? Or, once it’s in the government record, it’s always in there?

  • Reed Guymon says:

    Sounds like the “BORG” is trying to take over. Oh, for the country school house again. People in control are like Kings. They can be wicked or fair. Those who will have access to our names, scare me for my family and friends – for all of us. One new law, that Senator Hatch supported, gives them the right to haul you off if they suspect you of anything they deem improper, If I understand correctly. Again, wicked and fair people proceed as they see fit to enforce these policies. A SICK, VERY SICK BUNCH OF LAWS.

    I appreciate all that is being done by you people on this web site. Thank so very much. I hope it is not too late to stop these infringing government policies.

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