Deadlines for in-person schooling, class size reporting, and questions about DOE’s protection of student data

November 12, 2020

Dear Friends,

1/ Today, Thursday Nov. 12 at 6:30 PM, I’ll be speaking at an online forum hosted by Brooklyn for Peace about how the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the inequities that already exist within our public school system. You can find more information about this forum and sign up to attend here.

2/ The DOE deadline for parents to opt for in-person learning for their kids is Sunday Nov. 15; you can do that here. Meanwhile, the city’s infection rate is creeping up and was 2.5% yesterday. Even though the random testing shows the infection rate inside schools is only about .18%, the Mayor has said all schools will be closed when the citywide rate rises to 3%.

While de Blasio has insisted that this may will be your only chance to opt-into in person learning for your child, more recently the Chancellor said that there indeed may be more opportunities later this year. As I said in this article, it is highly unfair and irrational to close off the possibility of parents opting in later in the year, especially as there may be a vaccine available as soon as April.

3/ Nov. 15 is also the legal deadline for the DOE to report class sizes by school and grade level. Much thanks to CM Mark Treyger, who wrote a letter to the Chancellor urging him to make the deadline, and to report separately class sizes of in-person classes vs remote classes, especially as many parents and students have reported that the latter can be as large as sixty, eighty students or more. Chalkbeat wrote an article about the importance of disaggregated data, and I blogged about this issue here.

4/ We are also very concerned about the privacy of student data, especially as DOE has hurriedly acquired at least 100 ed tech programs and has told schools that they “must have a shared, inclusive and digital curriculum in all core subject areas”. And yet many of the publicly available privacy policies of these products do not comply with state law, as they allow for the commercialization or sale of student data, or do not sufficiently protect it from breaches. See the letter sent by Sen. Brad Hoylman to the Chancellor, asking that the DOE post all the contractual Parent Bill of Rights agreements with these vendors, to ensure that student privacy is rigorously protected. The DOE has failed to post any of them so far, even though this is also required by the state law. Chalkbeat reported on this non-compliance with the law on the part of the DOE, and I provided more detail about our concerns here.

If you haven’t already, please respond to our parent/teacher/student survey to let us know which online apps your children have been assigned; you can also check the privacy grades of some of the products that we know DOE is encouraging schools to use.

Thanks as always for your help,


Categories Newsletters, Recent Newsletters, Updates | Tags: | Posted on November 13, 2020

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Comments are closed.