Monday, December 10, 2018

Updated: Gates grant to NYSED for more PR around standards, testing and data collection

Update, December 11: Nick Tampio had an oped in LoHud news which asks:what if a food conglomerate making high fructose corn syrup bankrolled a state campaign on benefits of sugar? Or if tobacco companies subsidized a government campaign to push teen smoking? Same will likely happen if the Regents accept this Gates grant to push flawed standards, testing and expanded data collectionThe Non-profit Quarterly also  covered the controversy: "perhaps the Gates Foundation might consider the time and energy parents and other stakeholders must spend organizing against Gates initiatives instead of for ones they can believe and invest in among the costs of its growing number of failed educational efforts."

There was a lively discussion of this grant and its potential consequences at yesterday's Regents meeting and whether Gates Foundation would "control the narrative."  Commissioner Elia said the reason for the state to expand its data collection from early childhood through higher ed was that  currently students applying to SUNY and CUNY schools can't have their transcripts sent on time, a claim that is hard to believe. Many questions were raised about the data practices and policies and who would obtain the data.  Elia promised "no outside company" will be given access to it.  The Board of Regents voted to approve the grant, with only Regent Cashin and Regent Oudekirk voting no.  In the end, this decision will likely backfire, causing parents from trusting NYSED even less than they do already on standards, testing and data collection, knowing that these communications are part of a PR campaign, financially supported by Gates.

December 10, 2018

See how the Board of Regents are discussing tomorrow morning a $225,000 grant from the Gates Foundation to improve NYSED's "consistent and targeted communication " to parents and other stakeholders to help them "understand a variety of critical academic changes" regarding the state's learning standards, accountability initiatives (ie testing) and need for enhanced data collection "to connect early childhood, K-12, and postsecondary student information."   The proposal is posted here and below. 

One wonders if more PR is going to really help persuade parents who are already very distrustful of NYSED's insistence on imposing new standards that are little different from the Common Core.  There is still too much emphasis on flawed high-stakes state exams, and a lack of transparency about their design.  Finally,  NYSED still hasn't released regulations or enforced  § 2-d. regarding the unauthorized release of personally identifiable information , the state student privacy law that was passed in 2014 in the wake of the controversy over inBloom -- though the legal deadline for implementation was more than four years ago. 

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