Monday, April 3, 2017

Update on state budget deadlock & College Board threat to student privacy

1.  The NY state budget is stalled and will be late for the first time in years. The deadlock appears to be related to education funding for our public schools vs. charter schools, and whether the cap on charter schools will be lifted.

As usual, the Assembly Democratic majority wants to fully fund Foundation Aid to high-needs districts, as required by the CFE court decision, while the Governor and the Senate, led by the GOP and their allies in the Independent Democratic Caucus, are more interested in supporting charter schools – by raising the cap on these privately-run schools and increasing their funding.
Please call your Senators, Assemblymembers and the Governor today. Tell them they should fully fund Foundation Aid, and NOT raise the cap on charters.

Call Gov. Cuomo at (518) 474-8390 and as soon as you get a message, hit 1 to get his voicemail.
You can find your Senator’s phone number by filling out the form here and your your Assemblymember here.

There will also be a rally on Wed. April 5 at 4:30 PM outside the Governor’s office at 633 3rd Ave in Midtown Manhattan (between 40-41 St) – please come! More information here:
2.       Three years ago yesterday, we won a huge victory for student privacy when the NY State Legislature passed a law blocking the Education Department from disclosing personal student data with inBloom Inc., which closed its doors two weeks later.  Yet there are still huge threats to student privacy – in part, because NYSED has not enforced other provisions of the student privacy law approved at that time.

For example, the College Board is still unethically if not illegally amassing a huge amount of personal student information through the administration of the PSAT and SAT exams, and selling or “licensing” this data at 42 cents per student name.

Among the data they collect from students and disclose to third parties includes their race, religion, citizenship, GPA, their high school courses and their intended college majors, as well as their parents’ education level and income.

They offer up this information to many institutions and companies, including the Department of Defense, for marketing and recruiting purposes.

The PSAT/SAT will be given in schools this week on Wednesday April 5 in many New York districts and elsewhere in the nation.  Please warn your children that much of the personal information they will be asked to fill out is PURELY voluntary and may be sold.   Unless they and you want this to happen, they should only provide the minimal personal information necessary, including their name, address, gender and date of birth.  

For more on this issue, see last week’s article in the Washington Post Answer Sheet and my response to the College Board’s claims in that article.

Thanks,  Leonie

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