Data Collection Methods…Your Child and a #2 Pencil
Yes, schools perform ‘basket research’ for marketing and research firms. At the beginning of each year parents sign agreements that allow schools to assess and survey their children. Let’s talk about the many data collection methods in schools.
Have you ever picked up a magazine or newspaper and read that 45% of America’s 15 year old students have had sex before age 13? Wonder where that information came from? More than likely the middle school your child attends received a grant or money to perform a market basket research study on a particular age group. Researchers or marketing firms looking for information that could be about anything from learning whether you have guns in your house, to how many people smoke in your family, to if your child is having sex, does your child trust you, does your child see you as a role model, do your child believes you are contributing to the global warming problems, or whether you fed your children before they go to school. All kind of data is being collected about you, your family, your habits, your household, and you are contributing to what the economy will look like in your community.
Has your child ever brought home a three day or week long assignment? Remember you had to sign a paper approving the assignment to be done in your home? Did you notice that your were required to make certain the assignment is returned to your child’s school by a certain deadline? The first part of the assignment involved your child interviewing you; asking you questions that seemed non-threatening, like do you smoke, how many hours do you work, how much money you spend a week on food, how many parent-teacher meetings have you attended in the past year, or do you exercise or recycle your trash. All kinds of questions…are asked during this parent child interview.
But then, there’s part two to this week long assignment. Where your child takes the clip-board and performs an inventory of items in and around your house. How many television sets, how many telephones, bathrooms, siblings, mother, father, or detail the relationship your mother has with the man that spends the night every now and again. Are there guns in the house? Or, do you know anyone in your family that has guns? Do you have a pet? How does you get along with your siblings, parents, step parent, grand parents, etc. Does anyone in your house subscribe to any newspapers or magazines. How much time do you spend watching TV or playing video games? Do you and your family eat together?Is there a computer in the house? Is it connected to the Internet? Count the number of cell phones, tablets, lap tops, or games. Types of music is the favorite for your family. Yes, they even ask about how much sleep and how many meals you and your child eat in a day. This information collected by your school and some schools sell the information to market-basket researchers in an agreement or in partnership with the “assessment” agency out of Monterey, California and other education reform firms
Not all of these surveys are performed by your child at home. You have to complete information when your child is in Kindergarten, this information follows your child throughout his or her school life and is updated from time to time. How? Each child as a student ID# and each school has a LEA# (Local Education Agency Number). Depending on your economic status or what kind of care giver you are to the school aged child, you could find yourself wrapped up in all kinds of surveys, in home visits, and constant meetings with people that collect data from you.
One of my favorite data collection methods in schools I love to tell people about is the Teen Pregnancy Prevention programs. Oh year, taking care of the doll or the raw egg for weeks and writing a journal about what it was like being a 13-year-old single parent. Did members of your family help you with the baby? I need not say anymore? And talk about journals. Your child is ‘required’ to write and keep a journal. Enough said.
NOTE: I may not be asking the questions exactly as they are asked, but trust me, your child’s homework assignments include taking an inventory of items, attitudes, behaviors, and conditions within your household. This data is analyzed by psychometricians and the data collected from your child is compared to other children in schools within the same school, schools in the same zip code and schools in a different zip code compared to families with a higher or lower income levels. The data is also used to determine whether your child will meet the assessment standards for work or college. And yes, all this data, helps determine the property values in your community.
This assignment eliminates the need to perform a full scale door-to-door Census. It also helps the state make a risk assessment of public services that may or may not be needed in your community.
Right smack in the middle of an assessment, is a question that collect data from your child about their thoughts on God and Ali or gay or straight, or abortion or no abortion. Yes, while some schools caught on to what was going on when this was an everyday life in the mid 1990’s and now control the level of the of the questions…but they receive royalties for allowing this practice to continue…so it is still allowed and where else can they get free data about what goes on in your house, then from your innocent unsuspecting child.