School board members overwhelmingly oppose the State Education Department’s plan to provide student data to a third-party vendor, according to the latest poll of New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) members.
Seventy-five percent of board members surveyed said they oppose sending data for New York students to inBloom, a data storage company that has a contract with the State Education Department to collect student information such as names, addresses, disability, attendance and suspensions. Thirteen percent said they support providing the data to inBloom, while 11 percent indicated they were not sure.
The poll also found that 78 percent of school board members believe parents should be able to opt out of having the educational records of their children shared with inBloom. Fifteen percent said parents should not be able to opt out, while 7 percent said they were not sure.
“The majority of school board members who responded to our poll do not want the State Education Department to share student data with inBloom,” said Timothy G. Kremer, NYSSBA’s executive director. “Obviously, they have serious concerns about the security of student data, how it will be used, and whether the collection of data will prove helpful to school districts throughout the state.”
“We have presented these results to State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr., who has agreed to consider legislation that protects the privacy of student data and imposes civil or criminal penalties on those who violate that privacy,” said Kremer. King will continue to explore the ways in which BOCES’ Regional Information Centers can support the goals of the EngageNY Portal.
School board members do not deny the need for information, added Kremer. Many (48 percent) respondents believed that more data would allow school districts themselves to better customize educational programs and interventions for students. Thirty-seven percent did not believe that more data would be useful to school districts, and 15 percent were not sure.
Survey results are based on an informal NYSSBA Pulse Poll of school board members conducted in December 2013. The three-question poll drew between 613 and 634 responses, depending on the question.
SOURCE: NYS School Boards Association