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Archive for the ‘Privacy’ Category

My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Oct. 3, 2009:

After recently discussing student and family privacy with a Broomfield parent, the parent gave me a copy of “Hot Seat Freshman Questions.” The questionnaire was used in a Broomfield High Freshman Seminar August get-acquainted activity. Principal Ginger Ramsey quickly and kindly clarified for me: Teachers and upperclass student helpers “break the ice” in class by answering the questions first. Students can “pass” on any question and voluntarily take the “hot seat” in front of the class.

Nevertheless, peer pressure can take its toll and disclosing personal information gives bullies something to use. There is no value in teachers asking students in class: “Do you have a significant other? Who is it?” and “Who do you have a crush on?” In fact, answering honestly requires students to divulge their sexual orientation and lack of or interest in a “significant other.”

It sounds like we’re training students for the Oprah Winfrey Show. Students responding with creative fiction may fit the bill more than their passing on out-of-bounds questions.

I applaud Ramsey for her open door for anyone with concerns about the 3-year-old program. We all need to know whether this required seminar is an academic course or counseling program, whether students will be further questioned about their personal lives and whether materials are available for review. Also, I urge the school board to look carefully at district policies addressing the matter.

[See more details about this situation by clicking here.]

*This title was not part of the Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Aug. 1, 2009:

Parents teach their children to be safe by not sharing personal information on the Web. Likewise, the U. S. Justice Department advises individuals to be “stingy” in sharing and to adopt a “need to know” approach. In contrast, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper announced in early July he is talking with Palantir Technologies to develop a huge database for Denver. With no apparent clearer goal than to better help Denver school children, parents and children are to surrender their privacy. Their information would be shared within the city, the school district and possibly nonprofit entities.

Some children may benefit from teachers, social workers and the like turning to the computer rather than to them or their parents. However, children across the board will lose. Their data, errors and all, will be available for individuals to analyze and in other ways act like all-knowing beings peering in and poking around. Lives of children and their families will become an open book.

The same lure of free money and “help” attracting Hickenlooper hangs over local communities and school districts. They may have the same luck as Denver with the database. Palantir Technologies, the developer, plans to make it a donation. Additionally, the database may help school districts catch some of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund, the largest K-12 education reform discretionary pot in our country’s history. Unfortunately, these funds hook us into a more national K-12 educational system, a move we should disdain in favor of local control.

*This title was not part of the Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Jan. 5, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: Where should a free society draw the line on private vs. public information?

Individuals control much of their own privacy. They give it away on social networking sites, national TV talk shows or with personal contacts. They can also guard it from scrutiny and judgments. Wish it were that easy.

Unfortunately, in this free society, the line on privacy is quite blurred. Many documents of our dealings with government are public. So are on-line satellite images of our properties and curb-side discards from our homes. Still, in a non-Orwellian world, it’s indefensible that public school teachers have free reign to question students by assignment about their private lives.

Maybe privacy is best understood when applied to self, not others.


Source: Daily Camera


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