Guest column: Nevada public schools need to protect students’ data (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Guest column: Nevada public schools need to protect students’ data (opinion)

John Eppolito
Guest Column

More parents are beginning to understand the dangers of schools, states, and third parties; collecting, storing, sharing, and analyzing student data. What just happened between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is nothing compared to what's happening to our children, by design, in Nevada public schools.

INFINITE CAMPUS (IC)

Starting in kindergarten anything your child does in school may be documented in IC without your consent. To view the most sensitive, subjective, medical (including psychiatric), and discipline data in a student's IC account parents have to make appointments with two school officials.

Nightly, IC uploads the most sensitive data on all Nevada public school children to the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) via their System of Accountability Information in Nevada (SAIN). The most sensitive, subjective, medical, and discipline data stored on our children by IC and SAIN is never deleted! At this point we don't have answers from the NDE, IC, or local Nevada school districts to:

A) Why isn't the data ever deleted?

B) How will the data be used in the future?

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EDUCATION SOFTWARE

If your child starts using free third-party education software typically second-fourth grade the software vendors will likely create profiles on your child without your consent. These profiles will likely be much more detailed than the ones Cambridge Analytica have created on Facebook users. Many of these third party vendors also will share your child's data with unknown fourth parties.

1:1 DEVICE

A 1:1 device is typically issued by a school to students. The only one who uses the device is the student it was assigned to. If your child takes a 1:1 device from the school it is likely that everything you child does on that device will be tracked by Google or Microsoft, and possibly others.

SBAC TEST

If your child takes the 10 hour, computer adaptive, secret, SBAC test in third through eighth grade consider:

A) Computer adaptive means the test "adapts" as students take it, in other words student A and student B take different tests; making the SBAC an invalid assessment.

B) At least during the testing window SBAC will be "monitoring" student's social media accounts, in the name of test security.

C) SBAC must share raw test data on the 10 hour test with numerous third parties including the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office and in Nevada the SAIN.

D) Parents get the least amount of test data after approximately 10 hours testing.

E) Since the only ones allowed to view the test are children, we can not be sure about this but many experts believe — the SBAC test is more of a student data mining tool for third parties than a true criterion referenced test. Some experts believe the SBAC will create psychological profiles on students who take the test.

In Protect Nevada Children's next two town hall meetings we will inform parents on what they can do to protect their children. The meetings will be in Cold Springs and Sparks, dates and locations will posted on our Facebook page, Protect Nevada Children, soon.

John Eppolito is president of Protect Nevada Children.