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Elmsford School District Opts Out Of 'Race To The Top'

Elmsford's School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca, left, seated with Board of Education President Michael Colasuonno last month, annouced the Board would opt out of "Race To The Top".
Elmsford's School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca, left, seated with Board of Education President Michael Colasuonno last month, annouced the Board would opt out of "Race To The Top". Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

ELMSFORD, N.Y. -- The Elmsford Union Free School District Board of Education voted Wednesday to opt out of "Race to the Top" and lodged concerns about the program in regard to student privacy.

Race to the Top is $4.35 billion United States is a Department of Education program that was created to spur innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education and is funded by the ED Recovery Act as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Race to the Top program allows every district to apply for funding that they receive by implementing new regulations, which include posting student state test scores and teacher evaluations online via data collection dashboards.

Elmsford expected to receive $4,192 in state funding through Race To the top for the 2013-14 school year with the requirement that it select one of three choices of data dashboards (inBloom) that would possibly share students' data with third party service providers.

District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca notified the Race to the Top Office of the State Education of the Board's decision by letter Wednesday.

"The Board of Education resolved to opt-out of Race to the Top and authorized the district to attempt to shield our students' data from inBloom," Ricca said "While we are uncertain of the probability of success, we believe that it is critical to protect our students' personal information and that parents/guardians should have the ability to opt-out of any data collection efforts outside of the routine state/district student information systems."

Elmsford joins other districts, including Pleasantville, Hastings, Hyde Park, Mount Pleasant, Pelham, Pocantico, and Rye Neck, in asking the New York State Education Department to consider specific concerns raised about student privacy and the potential use of student information as profit centers by corporate America.

Ricca's letter said the district would opt out of the grants as of Friday, Nov. 8 and with it close out all projects and submit a final expense report as soon as possible.

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