SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Falling Down The Rabbit Hole Kafka Style With EngageNY

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Falling Down The Rabbit Hole Kafka Style With EngageNY

I did it. I emailed EngageNY asking to to opt out my son of any and all data collected and/or to distributed. I had first called (518-474-5922) the office of Curriculum and Instruction at NYSED. I asked whom can I speak to in regard to my request. After several minutes of being put on hold I was told that EngageNY could only be contacted by email ( OK, so I emailed;

To whom it may concern:

My son is currently a student in the Harrison Central School District. I would like to have his data wipe and not shared at all. Also, I would like to know how I can go about seeing what data has been collected.

Thank you in advance.

Peter Zucker

Several hours later I received a reply;

Thank you for contacting the EngageNY Help Desk. Your ticket information is below. If you have any additional information to add to this ticket, please feel free to call the Help Desk at 1-855-252-6900

The Help Desk's normal business hours are are 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday.



Ticket Number: 265

Date Reported: 9/20/2013 4:04:32 PM

Problem Request: Mr. Zucker wanted to know how can he have his kid's data wiped out of inBloom he also wanted to know which data has been collected.

Message to Caller:

​Hello Mr. ​Zucker,

Thank you for contacting the EngageNY Portal Help Desk.

Only school districts can determine who has access to student data and for what purposes. InBloom is not authorized to alter or remove student records from its data store; those records are owned and controlled solely by the school districts. You should contact your child’s school district to inquire about their policies.

To answer your question, the Portal will include student demographic, enrollment, attendance, behavior, course performance, and state and formative assessment information.
In order to make the Portal data dashboards most useful to teachers, students, and parents, districts can add local data for their constituents (and only their constituents) to view. Districts and the state decide what data are shared with contracted vendors under strict contract
terms consistent with FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974). No social security numbers or photos are collected or shared.

Please visit and to learn more.

So I am told to contact the Harrison Central School District when in fact back in June a big wig at HCSD told me to contact the NYSED.  Confusion.

So I called the number they had given me. It was the number for the EngageNY help desk. I asked the young lad who answered to whom can I speak to concerning my request. She told me she does not know and besides, the help desk number that I called is for people that need technical support. So why then was I given the number?

I asked for a supervisor and a rather pleasant, yet confused woman came on the line. She explained to me that there was nothing she can do and suggested to email again. I then asked her, "Who is in charge there?"

She replied, "Well, me, of course."

"No, no, not the help desk. Who is in charge of EngageNY?" I asked.

"I don't know."

"Is there another phone number besides the toll free number I can call to speak with someone?"

"No," She replied.

I thought to myself, no? How can that be, every single department at NYSED, even the custodian,  has a phone number, why not EngageNY?

I decided to try another tact. Since we were getting dangerously close to an Abbott and Costello routine I decided to try that tact.

"OK, explain this to me about no phone numbers. What happens if someone there at EngageNY is working and his wife wants to call to ask him to stop by Stewart's to bring home eggs and milk? What number do they call?

"They just don't"

UGH!!!!!!!! OK, I asked her who is in charge of EngageNY.

"Commissioner King," she said.

"No, I know that, technically he is, but who is in charge of that department? Who makes the decisions in that department?"

Her answer, "I have no idea."

I explained to her this is so Kafkaesque. That there is more secrecy at EngageNY than there is at the CIA. I said thank you and I hung up.

Where is the accountability? Better yet, where are the humans?

I emailed the person at HCSD in charge of this and await a reply this Monday. There is a school board meeting Wednesday, and back to school night on Thursday so I look forward to getting some answers.


Lee Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT said...

Kafkaesque is in the 3rd grade CCSS curriculum. That lady wouldn't have known it.

Anonymous said...

It is almost as hard to learn who is responsible at EngageNY as it is to find out who was responsible for the thousands of illegal wiretaps and misuse of that private information That Rupert Murdoch and News Corp have admitted to in British courts.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating. I've been wondering about Engage NY too. Obviously the work is all farmed out, but someone at NYSED (I assume) manages a relationship. Maybe that person can't come to the phone because his/her head is on a chopping block! It's obviously an utter disaster.