For Immediate Release
November 11, 2015
Illinois parents oppose new threat to student privacy:
Little oversight of classroom videos for Pearson product raises red flag
Springfield, IL. Tuesday, a representative of the Chicago coalition More than a Score shared disturbing information with an Illinois House education committee concerning new dangers to student privacy. As of September 2015, student teachers in Illinois must now submit videos filmed in public school classrooms to education conglomerate Pearson as part of a standardized assessment. The assessment, known as the edTPA, is required by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for new teacher licensure.
Parents must grant their consent for children to appear in the videos. The rights to the videos then reside with Pearson—possibly to be used for purposes other than certifying the student teacher. Although the videos are intended to be confidential, numerous examples of the videos are found online, in violation of both the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the guidelines provided by ISBE and Pearson.
The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on School Curriculum & Policies held the subject-matter hearing on the edTPA because of the numerous issues this latest high-stakes standardized test presents for the teacher education process in Illinois.
The required video submission pits the interest of student teachers against those of their students. Chicago parent Roberta Salas refused to allow her child to participate in an edTPA video during a pilot program this past spring. “I felt bad for our student teacher, but I encouraged other parents to read these permission slips very closely and to be thoughtful about signing,” said Salas.
“The process to certify teachers in Illinois should not depend on pressuring parents to hand over their child’s personally identifiable information to Pearson,” testified Cassie Creswell, organizer with More Than A Score. “My organization will continue to inform parents that we have no confidence in either Pearson or the edTPA and that they should seriously consider refusing consent.“
Pearson, the world’s largest education corporation, also has multi-million dollar contracts with the state of Illinois for the controversial PARCC test, the recently revised GED, and one other required test for teacher certification, the TAP. In 2011 Illinois sued Pearson for $1.7 million for the unexplained loss of student scores on a previous contract. In 2013, Pearson had a multi-million settlement with the New York State Attorney General for having inappropriately paid for travel junkets for state education officers, including Illinois’ previous state superintendent Chris Koch.
More Than A Score helped expose the privacy threat posed by InBloom, a joint venture of Rupert Murdoch’s education company Amplify and the Gates Foundation. Illinois withdrew from the InBloom project in 2013. InBloom closed altogether in 2014 after strong parental opposition to potential breaches of student privacy from around the country.
Full testimony available at http://bit.ly/MTASedTPA.