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InBloom Denies Directive from Pearl River Schools

Pearl River School District Superintendent Dr. John Morgano sent a letter Nov. 13 to the CEO of inBloom, the private company which will be handling student data gathered by the New York State Education Department. The letter directed inBloom to delete all Pearl River student data and not to store any going forward. 

In October, the Pearl River Board of Education approved Morgano's recommendation that the district opt out of the Race to the Top grant program due to privacy concerns regarding student data and the involvement of inBloom. 

Morgano reported on inBloom's response at the Pearl River Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

"They wrote back and said no," Morgano said. "They said their contact is with New York State and to take it up with them. It seems useless to write a letter to New York State, so we will focus our energies on having the (state) legislature enact needed legislation to put the reins on the state education department, which seems to be out of control."

Morgano argued that it could end up being easier for colleges or future employers to find out about a student's history of getting in trouble in school than a juvenile criminal record. 

"A kid can robe a store at 15 and the records would be sealed when (he or she) is an adult. But if they do something stupid in school and get suspended, that can haunt forever. A college can ask a student to sign a consent to contact inBloom for the data. If they won't sign, it looks bad for them. If they do, the college can get the data. It's an outrage that that could happen to a kid."

Morgano said he would be raising those issues with local representatives Friday morning at the Lower Hudson Valley School Superintendent's meeting.

"That is an opportunity to share our concerns about this and about funding," Morgano said. 

Morgano has been urging parents and other interested members of the community to speak up as well. Contact information for the New York State Education Department Board of Regents and elected officials has been available at recent school board meetings. Morgano was asked about putting together some sort of form letter, but he said that he believes individual messages work better.

"I think form letters lose something," Morgano said. "I will write a letter as I have before about what I think the issues are. People need to write their own letters in their own words. It is much more powerful than a form letter.

"Don't forget to write (Governor Andrew Cuomo), who seems to have escaped this whole issue and hidden very well. I wouldn't let him hide."

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski both participated in the Day of Action Monday in the Nyack School District, during which local officials, educators, students and community members spoke out against a variety issues including the sharing of private student information with inBloom. Read more about that here

The Clarkstown Central School District became the latest Rockland County district to opt out of the Race to the Top grant program Thursday night. Read more about that here. The South Orangetown Central School District is also among the districts opposing the state's data demands. 
Fairness4All December 16, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Wow! It says a lot when Supt. feels it would do no good to contact the State! We have learned that lesson the hard way in ERCSD. Shame on those in power who feel their decisions cannot be questioned.

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