Here are two important understandings of data. One is cautioning against the use
of digital information to make important decisions regarding individual students
and the second is suggesting that schools capitalize on the ease of managing
data to analyze the needs of a given population, monitor program progress, etc.
For example, data is good for identifying trends, measuring causal
factors and studying the variables of an under served subpopulation. But, as a
teacher, I would never make an important decision regarding a student based on
digital record alone. The digital record corroborates but does not necessarily
substantiates. Too much is at stake if an input error has occurred. And we know
that they do happen.
While I use and love computers, I also wonder if sometimes we get too dependent
on them. What happens if in the futures computers crash for extensive amounts
Bob G doesn't have clue. Every concern he expressed is already taken care of by
federal and state law. What was sought through the contract is a way for all
student information to be available to those who have a right to see it and
protected from others and, at the same time, available in sanitized
disaggregated form by different factors including ethnicity, socioeconomic
status, English as a second language, etc.
California has a program like this to track student attendance. It is causing
huge problems with school districts. Hope it works better here.
Although a centralized database is needed lets hope it doesn't get abused. The
district should also realize that any personal information about students and
family belongs to the parents and can't be used or disclosed. Parental
permission should be required for any use of this information on an individual
basis. Family income should not even be a part of the data base, it has nothing
to do with the students. This data base should only be used to track individual
student progress at parent and teacher levels. Another violation of privacy act
information being used in an unathorized manner. And parents should not be
blackmailed to signing documents to give the governement permission access to
privildged information. This information could also lead to lobbyist demanding
the release of all this information for purposes of telemarketers and financial
instutions putting credit cards and advertising to irresponsible students.
Sounds like another year of inservice for the "new program".I hope
this one will stick around more than 5 years.