But lawmakers were divided about the appropriate length of the delay.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan argued for an indefinite delay in the state’s participation, citing “persistent questions regarding the ability to protect such data from security breaches, the necessity of the details and categories of such student data that is being shared, as well as the highly inappropriate potential for commercialization.”
A trio of senators, including Education Committee Chair John Flanagan, called for a one-year delay in submitting student data to the portal. “Students, parents, teachers, privacy experts and school administrators have raised serious concerns about the ability of unauthorized third-parties to access personally identifiable information of students, teachers and principals that will be collected on the statewide Education Data Portal,” the senators wrote in a statement.
Multiple states had originally planned to use InBloom, which the Gates Foundation built to help states manage and use student data, but over time, many of them pulled out. New York is among the only states planning to use the system fully, though legislators had previously indicated they would challenge that plan and a lawsuit against it is underway. The issue had been scheduled for discussion in the Assembly on Wednesday, but the hearing was canceled because of the impending winter storm.
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The Chicago Police Department doesn’t adequately screen and train the officers it assigns to Chicago Public Schools, and their roles in schools are poorly defined, according to a sharply critical report released today by the Office of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.
The report lists a litany of failings, including basic administration: There is no current agreement between the police department and the district governing the deployment of school resource officers, or SROs, and neither the schools nor the police even have a current list of the officers working in schools this year.
The inspector general’s report also mentions several sets of SRO resources and best practices created and endorsed by the federal government, then notes that Chicago hasn’t adopted any of them. “CPD’s current lack of guidance and structure for SROs amplifies community concerns and underscores the high probability that students are unnecessarily becoming involved in the criminal justice system, despite the availability of alternate solutions,” says the report.
Chalkbeat reported in August about incidents in which SROs used batons and tasers on students while intervening in routine disciplinary matters.
Scrutiny of SROs is nothing new, and is part of the broader CPD consent decree brokered this week between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. That agreement calls for better training and vetting of SROs, as well as a clearer delineation of their roles on campuses—including a prohibition against participating in routine school discipline — beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
But the report from Ferguson’s office says that the consent decree doesn’t go far enough. It chastises police for not pledging to include the community in the creation of its agreement with the school district, nor in the establishment of hiring guidelines; and for not creating a plan for evaluating SROs’ performance, among other recommendations. In addition, the report criticizes the police department for delaying the reforms until the 2019-20 school year. A draft of the inspector general’s report was given to the police department in early August in hopes that some of the issues could be resolved in time for the school year that began last week. The police department asked for an extension for its reply.