CA School Sells Data for Money to Cover Arne Duncan Visit

Filed in Privacy/SLDS by on December 4, 2013 5 Comments
Arne Duncan at Castle Park Middle School

Arne Duncan at Castle Park Middle School

The San Diego Reader reports that Castle Park Middle School in Chula Vista, CA (part of Sweetwater Union High School District) spent well over $17,000 in preparation for a visit last September by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  Apparently the district didn’t have the funds to cover the entire cost.  No worries, we have student data we can leverage for cash.

An excerpt:

Data-gathering has recently emerged as a primary concern for opponents of Common Core Standards and Common Core assessments. Federal laws governing privacy for student data were weakened in 2011. Across the nation, parents have expressed concern that student data will be shared with third parties.

Castle Park Middle School is a Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood school. Promise Neighborhoods are funded by the Department of Education and claim to offer “cradle to career” services. South Bay Community Services is the organization that oversees and distributes the $60 million government investment in Chula Vista.

On August 2 Principal Bleisch wrote to Alt: “By the way, FYI-SBCS [Promise Neighborhood/South Bay Community Services] is prepared to give my school a good chunk of change (over $100K of PN money allocated last year for staff that was not used.) The catch is that they are kinda using the data-sharing agreement as leverage.) They promised to expedite this money transfer as soon as we deliver on the data agreement.”

“We sent Dr Brand the revised [data] agreement yesterday. He said it looked good. If there is any way you can help me get that signed I then can put the pressure on them to get me the money. I plan to use this money for the stage and other things needed for the 9/13 visit.”

On August 5, Bleisch wrote Alt a reminder. The subject of the email is “Data-Sharing.”

“Just a kind reminder if you can help us get this data-sharing agreement signed.” FYI-They’re [reference to South Bay Community Services] holding up money until I deliver on this [smiley face] need this PN money to pay $17k for a new stage and $3000 Flags, $5000 cafeteria college banners for Arne’s visit. (The revised agreement is signed and forwarded.)”

Now if you wonder how the relaxing of rules surrounding FERPA could impact your students – let this serve as an object lesson.

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About the Author ()

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.
  • gordon_wagner

    This is disturbing.

  • concerned SUHSD employee

    Will someone please investigate this as there is more to uncover regarding all those involved. We have complained to our district HR regarding unethical behavior but to no avail.

  • Jennifer Proseus

    The smiley face in the last paragraph… really???
    “Just a kind reminder if you can help us get this data-sharing agreement signed.” FYI-They’re [reference to South Bay Community Services] holding up money until I deliver on this [smiley face] need this PN money to pay $17k for a new stage and $3000 Flags, $5000 cafeteria college banners for Arne’s visit. (The revised agreement is signed and forwarded.)”

  • Danielle McCarren

    This is a sad sign of the times.

  • Michael Panessa

    2011 FERPA modifications are working so well. NOT. Everyone who is worried about data being used inappropriately is uneducated on the manner. NOT. The data is only collected to help us better serve the students learning needs. NOT. The data can’t be used for profit ventures, we have protections in place to stop that. NOT.