A Nevada school is charging a dad thousands of dollars to get access to the school’s personal data on his own son.
When the father of four attempted to convince the state board of education to share multiple years of the data mining of his children, he was informed of the hefty price tag — $10,194. The data is tied to Common Core.
Before becoming an education advocate, the dad, John Eppolito, was a math teacher. He is worried that the data collected about his children might be inaccurate, and he also believes that education departments in any state should garner parental consent before data mining children and their families.
“We’re opening the flood gates,” he told local media. “We don’t know the implications or how this data will follow these children, and most parents don’t know anything about it. I want to see what data is out there about my kids and I don’t think Nevada should be sharing this information [with third party groups].”
When he learned that Nevada was going to share student data with other states, he took action. Approximately 400 to 800 “data points” related to the students could be shared with third parties, he learned. Eppolito made a call to the school district to find out who specifically would receive the data about his children, and officials told him they were unsure.
Eppolito then called the Nevada Department of Education to get his questions answered. Agency spokeswoman Judy Osgood told Eppolito that providing a parent with the data would cost more than $10,000 because the board of education would have to write a new computer program to pull out the information collected on individual students.
“Because the SAIN system is not designed to create reports that display individual student data in a readable format, the parent was initially told that the requested reports do not exist and cannot be produced,” Osgood said. “Upon continued insistence from the parent, staff assessed how much programming would be required to write new queries and develop a data table to create readable reports for the parent. Staff determined that it would take at least three weeks of dedicated programming time to fulfill the parent’s request. At the applicable wage rate of $84.95 per hour, the requested work resulted in a $10,194 price tag.”
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Data Quality Campaign, a non-profit organization that is partnering with the state to make sure that student data is used solely for educational improvement, says states should be making far more of an effort to ensure that parents have easy access to the data collected on their children. According to the group, every state has put into place a “unique statewide student identifier” that connects the information gathered across both “key databases” and years. A specific and non-duplicated number is assigned to each student and remains with the child throughout their school years.
“States and school districts must redouble their efforts to make sure that those who are working with information are very clear about the rights that parents have and are complying with those laws,” Data Quality Campaign’s Communications and External Affairs Director Dakarai I. Aarons told The Blaze.
The federal law which permitted school districts in the United States to collected student data is the same piece of legislation which was designed to protect parental access rights. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) states that parents can view the school data collected on their children and that “small fees” can be levied for the records unless such a fee would prohibit a parent from obtaining the information.
There are currently only 14 states that claim to offer “easily accessible” access to mined student data for parents, The Blaze said.
Off The Grid News recently interviewed an educational expert about Common Core. Listen to that podcast here.
What do you think about student data mining and the obstacles placed in front of parents who want to see the information collected on their children? Let us know in the comments section below.