NYS Assembly Education Hearing on Disclosure of Student Personally Identifiable Information

02November 20, 2013 NYS Assembly Education Committee Hearing on Disclosure of Student Personally Identifiable Information
Full video with agenda here

I was only able to hear portions of the hearing and jot down a few notes and quotes. The details and quotes below are not in order of appearance.  I will listen to the entire hearing at some point and add to my summary below. If anyone else watched it and wants to comment, please feel free to use the area at the bottom of the post.

Assemblymember’s question (missed who asked this): What has been collected to this point?
NYSED response: State has provided student data to inBloom, but not with names. As we move closer to final implementation, we will provide names to finalize testing process and dashboard use (says Ken Wagner)
– Commissioner King says over and over we are not sharing data, they are jsut storing it. Also says the data can’t be used for research purposes. (Not sure that is accurate, but have to research this. I thought I read in several places online they do provide data to researchers.)
– King says “we are not collecting new data”  … Wagner later says “We have collected new data elements over the past couple of years. Student level attendance started last year and student level suspension started this year. But those data elements are something we would have collected independent of the inBloom project.” So a grey area here. Are they playing games with the wording? Appears to be. Better question would be: What new data elements are you collecting specifically as a result of using inBloom or because of the technological capability that inBloom provides? What about in the future?
– King says districts can’t opt out of providing data to state. Must comply with state and federal law. (So, what are the federal and state requirements for data collection?)

– Ken Wagner says we do not provide student level data to the federal government. Also says data collection is a must for federal accountability purposes. “We have a federal requirement to monitor school programs” (says Wagner.) Ok, spell it out. What has to be monitored and what data must be collected to abide by the “federal requirement?” It is never definied or explained.

“Doesn’t the parent have the right to selectively withhold info?”
-Assemblymember O’Donnell
(He grilled King and Wagner and made it real personal. That’s what we need to do as parents. Make it personal.  NYSED: No reply to the question. Have to abide by the requirements of the laws.)

“Our ability to protect our privacy has not caught up with mechanisms used to protect the data. Parents ought to have a choice. Parents should have the right to not have child’s data sent to X.”
-Assemblymember O’Donnell

“I don’t understand why the names of each child need to be attached to this data.”
-Assemblymember Jaffee
(Bingo. Please ‘splain it NYSED. She also asks a great line of questioning about the contract line that appears to indicate districts can request info be deleted from inBloom. NYSED: No reply.)

“There will be a move in the legislature to revisit those laws that require so much data collection.”
-Assemblymember Nolan
(Bingo. Just because it is law doesn’t mean now, considering our current technological capabilities and potential security issues, it is good law. Please examine the laws and adjust.)

“Has any money changed hands between NYS and inBloom?”
-Assemblymember ? (missed who asked this)
NYSED reply from King: inBloom is funded until Dec 2014 by philanthropic ventures. $50 million of state money has been spent for the portal project so far. Past Dec 2014 how much will it cost? (???)

“What are the penalities for a breach?
-Assemblymember ?? (missed who asked this)
(Wagner: “No idea.”  The recent Sachem School Distrcit breach is mentioned, although it has nothing to do with inBloom.)

“Commish King, you are a master at avoiding questions.”
-Assemblymember Abinanti
(He questions why the state’s agreement with inBloom is specifically referring to the laws of the state of Washington. NYSED: No reply. Not aware of this.)

Assemblymember Abinanti refers to the NYS P-20 plan as a result of a tweet I sent him during the hearing. Bravo! First time I recall hearing it in public in any hearing or discussion. He is shocked to just discover this via an email he received during the hearing (it was a tweet, but that’s ok). More on this here. This, my friends, is something to dig into. Mr. Little’s reply was very good.

NY refusing to have a parent opt out. Illinois has up to 35 districts that might participate, with a parent district opt out option AND are not including health info. NYSED has not put limits on what data the districts can send into inBloom.
-Leonie Haimson
(Corrected the word parent as per Leonie’s comment below.)

* Listen to every one of Assemblyman Abianti’s questions and the responses he is given. There are almost no direct answers to questions.
Press on the hearing includes:
inBloom is not in the room
Ed Comm King Faces Bi-partisan Grilling by Assemblymembers
Assembly Education Chair Threatens Subpoena Against Data Company

Leave a comment


  1. No parent opt out in Illinois though they are allowing district opt out, Jeffco Co allowed parent opt out before they cancelled their agree,ent with in.bloom completely.


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