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September 6, 2013     Cape Gazette
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September 6, 2013

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Cape Gazette NEWS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6- MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 21 Data collection mostly stays local By Melissa Steele would benefit from student in- formation collected by schools. Specifically, the Bill and Me- School is back in session, and linda Gates Foundation and their along with it come tons of pa- affiliation with Microsoft was perwork for parents to fill out. targeted because the founda- Emergency forms, waivers, per- tion contributed financially to mission slips all blend together the development of Common in a pile that is sifted through Core Standards. Some people later that night, said IBM would receive student Making sure all the t's are information; others suggested crossed and i's are dotted is a iris screening would soon be chore in itself, used to gather information from So what happens to all the students. paperwork sent back to school? None of this is true, May said. For the most part, it stays in What the state does gather is the school, says Alison May, student information during their spokeswoman for the Depart- school years, said Pat Bush, di- ment of Education. rector of Technology Resources "We do not release data to the and Data Development. public," she said. This includes information on The issue of sharing infor- a student's health, discipline, test marion - commonly referred scores, grades, attendance and to as data mining - was a topic demographics. raised at several school board "The intent of the data is for meetings over the summer,use within the schools so staff Participants who protested the has access to serve students," state's adoption of Common Bush said. Core curriculum for Delaware Data also is housed with the public school students also said state Department of Education, certain technology companies but access is allowed only on a OOll~Ol COURTESTY OF SYRACUSE.EDU DATA MINING has become a profit- able business, but education officials say student data is not shared with the public or companies. need-to-know basis, Bush said. The state collects student in- formation for Title I, special education and other federal pro- grams that it reports directly to the federal government, May said. Besides that, she said, academ- ic researchers often request data for studies or other academic Truancy law' tough on cutting class pursuits. She said the department re- "They may be studying some- ceives about three requests a thing like the closing of the month for data, but the requests achievement gap," she said. are not automatically granted. Reseachers must present pro- The Family Educational Rights posals to the Department of and Privacy Act prevents school Education outlining exactly what officials from releasing student they intend to do with the data. information to the public, May Each proposal is approved be- said. "Both the state and fed- fore the data is released, May eral government have to abide said. by FERPA, too," she said. Gregory Meyers 0 latest innovative cutting and coloring techniques. Call for a free consultation or check out our website. Caring for your European Import is our Specialty! Diagnostic & Mechanical Service Specialist with over 25 years experience. Twenty unexcused absences will land student in court By Melissa Steele. A new truancy law could mean serious consequences for Cape Henlopen students, particularly those who cut classes. "Once a kid hits 20 days of unexcused absences for a class, they're going to go to court," said Randall Redard, visiting teacher and homeless liason for Cape Henlopen School District. "This law is going to have more of an impact than ever." In past years, Redard said, the district focused on kindergar- ten through fifth-graders who missed school because of unex- cused absences. Now, he said, the law sets stricter attendance rules for sixth grade through senior year at high school. That means high school students who in the past have repeatedly cut class af- ter lunch, at the end of the school day or anytime for that matter will no longer be allowed to do so, Redard said. "Anytime a student is not in school and there is not a writ- ten excuse, or if the reason on the excuse is not valid, it will result in an unexcused absence," Redard said. The new law has eliminated the flexibility, Redard said, he once had to determine whether to take a high school student to truancy court. In fact, he said, the truancy court previously discouraged truant officers from bringing in students who are 16 or older. At age 16 and 17, students can drop out of school withtheir parents' written permission. By 18, students can sign themselves out of school permanently. Redard said he handles about 25 truant cases a year; he expects that will more than double under the new law. "The courts are already pre- paring for this," he said. "Cape cases used to go on the same day as Seaford and Woodbridge. The court is considering giving Cape Continued on page 22 Dewey Continued from page 19 they would do in the absence of an election, both women said, "Vacation." Howell bids farewell Commissioner Joy Howell de- cided not to run for re-election. "I've enjoyed my time on the council, and I'm proud of what we accomplished. I felt that with the mix of skill sets on the council that I could focus on my management consulting firm and iust be a resource as needed, and I wish them all well," Howell said in an email. On Danaher - Howell's re- placement - Howell said, "No one knows the town code, char- ter and comp plan like Ellen Danaher. She is well-prepared to be a commissioner." Hanson, Legates and Danaher will be sworn in Saturday, Sept. 28, at Dewey Beach Life Saving Station on Dagsworthy Avenue. 17475 Nassau Commons Blud. Lewes, DE 19958 302-645-6410