Wednesday, March 27, 2019

New Updates on Check Yourself Reveal District is Violating Federal Law

This is an email I sent to the Board earlier this week:
Last Wednesday at the C&I committee meeting, Dr. Anderson came to the members to talk about policy 3232 which is about parent/student rights in the administration of survey, analysis or evaluations.
He said some things had "surfaced" and that the district's belief that the use of the Check Yourself screener as research was wrong. (And I had been told this by district myself - I was told it was "internal research" and therefore the district didn't have to tell parents.)

Anderson said they wanted to "shore up the policy framework for parents."

Ronald Boy, Legal staff, said that a discussion with an official at the Department of Education confirmed what staff believed about validity of use of the screener and PPRA. (I also have an official at the Department of Education who says it DOES violate PPRA.) But he also said the policy needed changes because it did not include screening tools.

I will say to you that there is clear evidence that the researchers at Children's Hospital have a grant (from the Hilton Foundation) for research on Check Yourself. Their findings on use of the screener in SPS schools and other Puget Sound area schools will be used to shape its use. They will be reporting on this in "peer-reviewed" journals and conferences.

That this work flows thru King County and Seattle Schools does not undo the fact that this is research.

Those "findings" will come from the students of King County public schools who are unknowing guinea pigs.

Mr. Boyd says that the tool is being used to "provide individual assessment of needs" so it's not research. It isn't for SPS but it sure is for KC and Children's Hospital.

Then, on Thursday I had an appointment with Mr. Boy about Check Yourself. He confirmed that it is not internal research but a screener and that SPS has no policy on screeners.

Another issue is that he said that nothing will be kept in the student's cumulative file which contradicts a public disclosure document where the discussion was around how to prevent it from becoming part of the student's educational record.

Then I asked him about a notification contained in PPRA which says that districts have to have policies around surveys (which SPS does have) and that every year, districts must notify parents of that policy and that it includes the ability to review any survey before it is given and parents have the right to opt their child out of that survey.

He said he is not aware that this has ever happened. Not just this year but any year. My early research shows that this has been part of PPRA since 2002. Mr. Boy said he isn't sure how long it has been since SPS gave out this type of notice.

Whether or not your policy 3232 includes screeners or not, right now SPS is in violation of PPRA because parents have not been legally told of this policy.

You can certainly right this wrong by telling the Superintendent to follow the law and send a notice to every single parent/guardian in the district about this federal right and the existence of your policy. As well, they could throw in information about the Check Yourself screener currently being used.

I again ask you to please hit the pause button on the use of the Check Yourself screener and ask staff to have all their ducks in a row before they start on projects/initiatives.
end of email

I will add that:

- My radar did go up when I saw this policy was to be discussed at the C&I committee meeting last week.  There truly is something amiss here.
- I have not heard back from a single director despite the fact that, again, the district's own lawyer says the district did not notify parents about their rights about surveys which is a federal law.

Lawlessness indeed.


Unknown said...

It's on the C&I committee because the state has mandated "social and emotional health" as a curricular requirement. My guess is that they're going with some kind of online platform because teacher's aren't trained psychotherapists.

Yet another function of the family being arrogated to the bureaucratic state.


Anonymous said...

I am disturbed by a seeming lack of interest by the board in proper oversight. What on earth do the directors think their job is if not to provide oversight of the district by an elected body?? If the superintendent won't fix dysfunctional operations, the board has got to.


Anonymous said...

If they mayor wasn't mentally ill I would want her to take over the school district

New parent

Elsa said...


"What on earth do the directors think their job is if not to provide oversight of the district by an elected body?"

Why they employ scores of HIGHLY paid staff to admire their clothing, that's what the job is!

Isn't it?

Melissa Westbrook said...

New Parent, I'm no Durkan fan but she's not mentally ill.