by David Safier
Let me begin by saying I don't know NK, so I can't confirm that everything he writes in the comment below is accurate about the way information moved between Arizona Virtual Academy and India.
Having said that, here is what NK posted this morning:
I was the India based project manager for this project for the 2006-2007 year. (Then I took up another position in a different company - so I do not know the present status).
2006 - 2007 : the India based teachers used to login to a US based system to download essays and had access to student information.
There were talks of migrating to a different system that gave limited access to the Indian teachers.
The US teachers were supposed to fill in the grade on the system, they got lazy. The US based teachers used to send spreadsheets with their class list for the Indian teachers to fill in the grade.
While I really do not understand what the big deal is about sending student info, due to a combination
of computer system features and the laziness of US based teachers, full class roster, student IDs, etc. were made available to the teachers in India.
Hope this settles things.
Far from settling things, NK's comment opens new areas of inquiry. NK refers to "India based teachers." Earlier a commenter named Suji referred to "one US based teacher and another India based secondary teacher for the course." Does this mean the heads of the project in India were considered co-teachers with the certified staff at Arizona Virtual Academy? If so, that gives them a great deal more status than Mary Gifford from K12 Inc. afforded them with the term "outside scorer."
More important than the terminology used to describe those working in India is this assertion: "the India based teachers used to login to a US based system to download essays and had access to student information." The wall of privacy Gifford said was created by "scrubbing" the papers of any personal information has been toppled if NK is reporting accurately.
"The US based teachers used to send spreadsheets with their class list for the Indian teachers to fill in the grade," NK writes. According to Suji in earlier comment, all the papers that Suji saw had the students' names on them.
This is very serious stuff. Gifford's rationale for not needing to fingerprint or do background checks on the India-based employees who worked on AZVA student papers was that there was no personal information attached. If NK and Suji are to be believed, names were attached to papers, entire class lists were sent to India and some people in India were able to log in to AZVA's system and gain access to who-knows-how-much information.
If these allegations are true, the letter or the spirit of the Arizona law designed to protect students from people who prey on children has been violated. It's about time someone from K12 steps forward and clears up the questions raised in these comments.
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