November 18, 2013
Dear Community Members,
You may be aware that the Mamaroneck Public Schools, along with a number of Westchester County public school districts, recently withdrew its application from the New York State Education Department’s Race to the Top program due to specific concerns over student privacy issues associated with the SED’s data dashboard initiative. We announced to the Board of Education our recommendation to withdraw from RTTT during the Oct. 28th Community Engagement meeting, and the Board at that time supported the decision and took formal action to proceed accordingly.
Our motive to withdraw from RTTT was based on the assumption that if we did, the State would not require us to participate in the mandated data dashboard component and that our individual student information would remain secure and private and would not be shared with inBloom and data dashboard software companies. During recent regional meetings, however, State Education Department officials have failed to provide clear and specific information on how the privacy of individual student information will be withheld, and concerns have mounted over the State’s plans to share extensive information about students regardless of whether districts participate in RTTT or not.
I continue to work with my regional superintendent colleagues to press State Department of Education officials for specific answers, but as of this date, have not received any official word from SED on the status of student information. We do not plan to submit local data on 400 student information data points requested by inBloom.
In the coming weeks, I hope to receive detailed information on the SED’s expectation for districts who do not participate in RTTT, specific to the transfer of student information from State Ed’s data warehouse to inBloom. Given the sensitive nature of this issue and broad concerns about privacy of student data, I will continue to update parents as more information becomes available.
Dr. Robert I. Shaps
Superintendent of Schools