Category Archives: Data Metrics

What Do Parent Surveys, Pearson & Finding Nemo Have in Common?

Summer Parade of Minnesota Surveys 2015 

What Do Parent Surveys, Pearson & Finding Nemo Have in Common?

By:  Anne Taylor

This spring MACC received quite a reaction from parents to public in our 4-part series “Spring Parade of Surveys.”  This fueled many to start paying closer attention to the kinds of questions their child is being asked in their school.  If you missed the series, you may go back and review the Spring collection of Surveys that included the following:  Search Institute, Matchomatics, National School Climate Center and the Minnesota Student Health Survey.  These were actual surveys given to us by parents in various districts.  With the exception of the Minnesota Student Health Survey (states usually carry their own version of this survey) the other three surveys mentioned above have received public scrutiny among parents across states, including lawsuits being filed.  Search Institute has been sued in connection with their district school board several times and in multiple states on behalf of parents for the districts lack of notification and consent to parents while violating privacy and the first amendment.

We decided it was time to continue the series based on the fact that so many parents did not realize how their child is being ‘mined’ on some of the most intrusive questions AND, often WITHOUT FRIST OBTAINING PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE PARENT TO CONDUCT THE ACTUAL SURVEY OF A MINOR.

MACC supports parents in their fundamental right to guide the upbringing and education of their child.  According to the U.S. Constitution, parental rights are protected by the 14th amendment – including rights to religious/spiritual freedom in regard to parental control over one’s child.  Therefore, parents have a right to review and decide for themselves if their child should ever take a survey or answer any kind of in-district questionnaire or 3rd party survey.

To some, questions may not seem as intrusive or personal; some parents even think it is good to ask what kids feel.  Whatever the reason, parents continue to come back and tell us they do not like their child answering questions on school time.  Many teachers we have spoken to have said they do not like surveys as they take up what’s left of valuable, precious classroom teaching time.

In this series, however, the Eden Prairie school district conducted its own survey – this time, among its parents.  This is not unique in that many schools are increasingly offering surveys to parents in an effort to quickly communicate concerns, experiences and needs while summarizing their overall district experience.  I for one felt this initially an easy and convenient way to participate in my child’s school district, however; as many districts take on digitized learning, there also brings to question, the kinds of questions parents are being asked and how THEY will be tracked.

We don’t think much about the keychain fobs that include our phone number or giving our zip code at the checkout lane to add to those ‘bonus points’, even freely giving out an email address.  While this system of information clearly isn’t going away in our time, you have to wonder why it is suddenly the schools business to ask YOU what kinds of social media you the parent uses, and how often.

Early in March of this year, New Jersey superintendent, Elizabeth Jewett made headlines revealing that the company, Pearson, had been cooperating with the state’s education department to spy on student social media during PARCC testing (*Note: Minnesota does not use PARCC, but does have a contract with Pearson for an alternative test to measure the Common Core standards).  The school district expressed concerns over what Pearson may do with the data creating support, as well as a surge in the opt-out movement of standardized testing.

One of the major components of 21st Century Learning is digitized, on-line delivered learning – which sometimes includes surveys in the name of curriculum.  Perhaps the kinds of questions schools are asking parents are a way to gauge how involved the parent is with their child’s technology?  Questions also ask how much parents use their own technology including apps, software, legal use of web content as well as the kinds of personal devices used in the home.  If all of this is true and seemingly harmless, why then is it necessary to ask parents their age group, along with how many children is in the home.  Clearly, it is for marketing purposes and yet, it’s all information that is “anonymous” – Right?

To coin the character “Gill” in Disney’s Finding Nemo, “All drains lead to the ocean, kid”.  The same can be said for data systems.

Just as we “starve the beast” by opting our children out of standardized testing and data, you as a parent may consider starving your school’s data system and beyond by refraining from answering your school district survey.  Better yet, we encourage families to go into their school boards and personally address questions and concerns.  With that, you have created a relationship.  Something we can all agree does not always happen behind a screen.


EPHS Technolgy Survey 1 (2)


EP survey 2 (1)



MACC Day at the Capitol 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015 

Rally: 9:00am Upper Mall Steps of the Capitol
Meeting: 10:10am  State Office Building Rm 400N

9:00am – 10:00am Rally Capitol Steps
(Bring your Rally posters or MACC yard signs)

10:10am Check-in/Welcome table State Office Bldg
Name Tags – MACC Buttons

10:20am – 11:30am Speakers including:
Senator Roger Chamberlain
Rep. Jim Davnie
Rep. Sondra Erickson
Rep. Jason Isaacson                                                                                                     Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer

Rep. Eric Lucero

Rep. Jim Nash

Rep. Dennis Smith

MACC leadership speaking on MACC’s vision in growing the grassroots, working with our legislature and the mission of our school groups.

Brief explanation of how we will visit with legislators.

11:30am Bag lunch (bring your own lunch) or Eat in the Cafeteria

12:00pm Visit your legislators / education committee

1:00pm Rm 400N clear

Parking is best in the Department of Transportation/State Office Building parking lot.


ALERT: Kerkhoven-Sunburg-Murdock (KMS) School District to offer “National School Climate Center” Survey This Week to Elementary Students

6th grade photo

ALERT: Kerkhoven-Sunburg-Murdock (KMS) School District to offer “National School Climate Center” Survey to its Elementary Students. This article is a re-post of the same survey from this past spring given to Orono schools. Again, if you are concerned about data collection and the nature of questions, parents may opt their child OUT. KMS is said to distribute the survey to students THIS WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7th and 9th, 2015.  Other districts may be offering the survey, also.

This article is a re-post of the same survey from this past spring given to Orono schools.   Again, if you are concerned about data collection and the nature of questions, parents may opt their child OUT.   KMS is said to distribute the survey to students THIS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9th, 2015.

WELCOME to our third in a series of Minnesota Surveys on Parade!  We have collected a lot of surveys.  Have you seen these surveys in your public or private school?   Not only do they take up precious classroom time but also may have been distributed without parental consent.   This one is from Orono Schools.  Surveys are given weekly. Feel free to mail us your surveys at

“This is not a test!  We just want to know how you feel!”

by Anne Taylor

National School Climate Center (NSCI):  NSCI is an organization that helps schools integrate a climate that is safe and supportive while nurturing social and emotional, ethical, and academic skills.  According to the NSCI web-site, the aim is to enhance student performance, prevent drop outs, reduce physical violence, bullying, and develop healthy and positively engaged adults.

NSCI works with the entire academic community including teachers and staff as well as school-based mental health professionals.  Students are told, “This is not a test!  We just want to know how you feel.”  According to NSCI’s website, the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center recognizes CSCI as a reliable and valid measurement tool.  This is very telling who exactly is collecting your child’s answers.

For those of you convinced the survey may be a good thing, I would ask: What if the child didn’t understand the question, marked an answer incorrectly, or thought it would be funny to mark the worst possible answer?  Well, that answer is now recorded.

And while it is stated on the first page of the survey that answers are
anonymous and “no one from the school will ever see your answers and no identifying information,” in the world of technology we know that ALL technology IS completely traceable.

In 2015, 6th graders in the Orono school district were asked in the
questionnaire several times sexual orientation and gender.  This made some parents feel uncomfortable as some of the questions were not deemed developmentally appropriate for all students, and could be considered ‘grooming’ if the child has not been exposed to this language.

Again, if the parent did NOT receive information on the option to opt-out, that child likely participated in the survey under what is called “passive consent.”  We will be discussing this more at length in another article soon.


You can check the NSCI website here:

MAIN orono survey 2015 6th grade

1 orono 2015 6th grade survey


2 orono 2015 6th grade survey

orono survey 6th grade

Parade of MN Surveys: Minnesota Student Health Survey

School Kids Diversity

Parade of Surveys:  Minnesota Student Health Survey                                   by Anne Taylor

Administered to Grades 5 – 12 every 3 years in every Minnesota school district and private school

Minnesota Student Health Survey (administered every 3 years, from grades 5-12):  Approximately 104 questions in the form of a standardized test. This survey can be administered in pencil/paper, but lately students access surveys via school issued iPads, chrome books or computers.  Students log in using their personal student ID code that links them to the survey.  The Department of Education states that parents and legal guardians are to be notified by their school on the survey, however, many do not receive opt-out
information, or may simply overlook notification.  Parents are given the right to come into the school to view the survey, and may choose to opt their child out from taking it.  Note that data results are shared statewide, in order to evaluate student trends and is used for funding programs that appear to have a greater need based on data results.

*Attached is a PDF of questions asked of 7th grade students in the Spring of 2013 statewide.  Questions asked:  Gender, race, who the student lives with, attitudes about school, homework, values, grades and may include questions of religious views that may impact or change a certain behavior.  IEPs, free & reduced lunch programs, AP, honors or advanced classes. Disabilities and mental health treatment.  Height, weight and physical exercise.  Usage of
alcohol, drugs, cigarettes including E cigarettes.  Family incarceration. Physical and sexual abuse.  Sexual preference and sexual activity, types of birth control, STD’s as well as attitudes on sexual behavior are asked of the high school students.  In 2013, 7th graders were asked if they used a tanning bed and if they were working for pay.

Results of the statewide survey can be found on the Minnesota Department of Human Services website under “MN Student Surveys.”

If you didn’t know to opt your child out of the survey, your child was
automatically opted to participate in taking the survey through what’s called “passive consent.”  No parental notification required.

CLASSROOM TIME USED: 1 hour / 10 pages

MN Health Student Survey pg. 1


MN Health Student Survey pg. 3

MN Health Student Survey pg. 4



MN Health Student Survey pg. 5

MN Health Student Survey pg. 6

MN Health Student Survey pg. 7

MN Health Student Survey pg 8

MN Health Student Survey

MN Health Student Survey pg 10