Friday, September 25, 2015

Special Education PTSA Looking for Input

It's a quick survey on your first month of school experience with SPS Special Education.

14 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Thanks for posting this Melissa! : )

There will be one out soon for teachers, IAs and other staff. All confidential of course.

Never thought I'd say this but...I love social media.

X said...

It's great to see some effort to gather information like this, but be very careful when you read the words "All confidential of course" online.

This may indeed be confidential from the school district, from teachers, etc., but it's hosted on googledocs, which is datamined as deeply as anything on the planet. If there are things you don't want dataminers to know about your kid, including interest in specific behavioral issues, medicines, or anything else that could be inferred from what you write (and they are very, very good at inferring), I would consider not posting it there. Based on the first few questions, it's likely that google will be able to identify your kid and associate your answers with them -- unless you don't do anything else online.

Of course this leaves the question of where/how to conduct such surveys of a confidential nature. That's a really difficult question, for which I don't have a great answer right now. But it's still important to understand what happens when you engage like this.

Also, a quick comment for mirmac; from a survey-creation standpoint it would be much better if you limited the "required" answers to a minimum. It's hard enough to get meaningful feedback, but requring an answer to every single question when there are more than 30, will reduce your response rate greatly. Just trying to be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Right. The same person who repeatedly slams SPS for non-confidentiality now asks parents to use a datamined nonsecure input mechanism to talk about matters of utmost privacy to their kid. Do not participate unless you want popup ads on your kid's computer talking to them about their disability. That and your family's name in a SPED advertiser database. If SPS got online and started telling the world what an idiotic move this is, well that would be parity with the way Mirmac and her minions play ball wouldn't it? Of course they'll do no such thing. But let's be clear that this is

Laughable

Anonymous said...

Wow. Such animosity. Being a ptsa president isn't all that easy, and you sure can't please everyone. Good points on security, but a little off base. Nobody's name is collected. Nobody's disability or diagnosis is collected. People doing the survey likely have already Google'd disability topics, so there's not much more for those evil dataminers to collect. You'll likely get no more ads than before. Laughable, sounds like you need to talk to your kids about disability and shame.

Sped Parent

mirmac1 said...

X, that IS helpful. We're beginners and struggled to find a low-cost means to quickly get a survey out there. This survey is modeled after one administered some years ago. Unfortunately, many of the SpEd issues and concerns we ask about haven't changed much.

Would love any volunteer who would want to help us collect evidence to better advocate on these big issues. Thx

Floor Pie said...

Great questions. Thanks for making this available.

X said...

@Sped Parent
Wow. Such animosity. Being a ptsa president isn't all that easy, and you sure can't please everyone.

I agree. It's easy for people to complain, but hard to step up and do these jobs.

Good points on security, but a little off base. Nobody's name is collected. Nobody's disability or diagnosis is collected.

But unfortunately, it doesn't sound like you understand how this stuff works. Knowing a school, grade and SpEd status is usually enough for sophisticated dataminers to derive exactly who your kid is. That means name, age, and yes, everything else you've "Googled" over the years, if one has been foolish enough to use a non-privacy oriented search engine for sensitive searches.

People doing the survey likely have already Google'd disability topics, so there's not much more for those evil dataminers to collect.

You're right that many people have been lulled into using datamining tools in their daily affairs, but I would hope people are getting smarter about this, especially with their special needs children! It's trivial to use privacy-oriented search engines, like duckduckgo or startpage.

You'll likely get no more ads than before.

If you think it's only about the inconvenience of seeing ads, then you're missing the big picture. The important thing to know is that these companies are building profiles of your children, gathering incredibly personal data about them, there are no restrictions on what they can do with that data, it lives forever, and there's no way to know how it will be used or who has access to it in the future.

You're right about one thing: for those who have already fed the beast all kinds of information about your kids through things like google search, a survey hosted on google may only be adding small incremental bit of data to your childrens' profiles, but it's something everyone should be aware of!

Melissa Westbrook said...

X is right- we are rapidly moving to a point where it may be almost impossible - if you used a computer - to not have information on your or your kids be data-mined.

Anonymous said...

Well X. All I can say is - we're all hosed then. I have never heard of Duck-Duck-Go or Startpage. Yep. THe kids are getting mined. So are the rest of us. Yes, it's private, but better to start opening up about disability than keeping it a deep dark secret. We're likely living in a post-privacy era. If they've got a profile - then we'll have to educate them on where that makes them vulnerable - as in advertising targets.

Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

Sped Parent maybe you can educate your child about this but many of our children will never understand such a nuance. It is a problem to be using these online tools for input.

Another parent

X said...

@SpedParent
Yep. THe kids are getting mined. So are the rest of us.

and this is a good thing?

Yes, it's private, but better to start opening up about disability than keeping it a deep dark secret.

Being open with those you choose is fine. Having ALL personal data (and it's not just specifics about a disability, but everything, cross-correlated) you discuss or search about your kid online datamined is overwhelming. You don't get to choose who gets that data. People don't think about (or even understand) the full depth of what this means.

We're likely living in a post-privacy era. If they've got a profile - then we'll have to educate them on where that makes them vulnerable - as in advertising targets.

Your attitude is fatalistic. It's not a matter of after-the-fact education, it's a matter of not letting others gather and analyze that data. There is no way to stuff that genie back in the bottle. It's impossible to ensure that it won't be misued, and in fact it's almost certain to be misused over time.

Do you have locks on your home? Why bother when we "live in a post-privacy era"? You can just educate your kids on how that makes them vulnerable. Oh wait, you DO have locks? You DO try to stop theft before it happens? I see. Ultimately, I hope that's the lesson you teach your kids.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would worry more about your child opening school accounts with a gmail email address, or attending a FEL after-school program where data goes to neighborhood non-profits, or gets care at a FEL health clinic, or participates in a Road Map project, or takes the SBAC tests, or uses a web-based college application site or app to apply to, and to fill out financial aid applications, or use their cell phone number as security on Yahoo, Google, or any number of sites. All of that information is directly traceable to you and your child.

perspective

X said...

Yes, perspective, you're absolutely right. Everything you mention is a concern, and it's a matter of weighing the benefits/risks. However, there are (at least) two problems.

First, most people don't understand the depth and breadth of what's happening in the data collection world, so they can't make an educated decision. Sped Parent originally stated that data miners (Google, in this case) wouldn't have a kid's name, disability, etc., but that's clearly wrong in most cases because people don't use care when using the internet in general. He/she kind of acknowledged that later, so their thinking was incongruous, but I'm sure you can see the point.

Second, some of the things you mention don't allow you to completely opt out! Road Map, for example, sent info on every student in those schools, and there wasn't even notice given to parents, let alone the opportunity to opt out. You can opt out of SBAC, but that doesn't mean your kids' data wasn't sent out. Everything except the final scores, as far as I know.

Glad you mentioned cell phones as ID. There is a strong push for this in the data collection industry, i.e. Google, Facebook, etc. People who do that are crazy. This is becoming very close to a "National ID", which has been rejected generation after generation. I fear our kids have been brainwashed by the big data mining corps into thinking this is all fine and dandy. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Here's the latest intrusive data-mining venture:

http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/colleges-vow-to-ease-application-process-with-new-website/

perspective