Nevada father John Eppolito is concerned and curious about the kind of data his state’s public schools are collecting on his children. So, he thought, what better way to answer this question than to request his children's data records?
Eppolito did just that. But instead of getting records, he got a huge serving of sticker shock.
That’s how much he was told it would cost to see the data records of his children.
“The problem is that I can’t stop them from collecting the data,” Eppolito told Fox News. “I just wanted to know what it [collected data] was. It almost seems impossible. Certainly $10,000 is enough reason to prevent a parent from getting the data.”
According to the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act, a school is allowed to impose a fee for a copy of an education record requested by a parent or student. There is a catch, though. The fee can only be imposed if it is small enough that it doesn’t prevent a parent from obtaining the record. Given that $10,194 would block thousands of parents from seeing a record like this, the price seems to violate the law.
When he asked why the report’s price tag was so high, school administrators pointed out that Eppolito is not requesting his child’s general educational record. Those are free. Eppolito wants to see a breakdown of the data collected on each of his children, which is a much more extensive request.
According to the Nevada Department of Education, the system used to store data is not meant to produce individualized reports. The school would have to spend a lot of time and money programming the System of Accountability Information in Nevada (SAIN) to produce the information Eppolito wants.
“Because the SAIN system is not designed to create reports that display individual student data in a readable format, the parent was initially told that the requested reports do not exist and cannot be produced,” the department says. "Upon continued insistence from the parent, [Nevada Department of Education] staff assessed how much programming time would be required to write new queries and develop a data table to create readable reports for the parent. Staff determined that it would take at least 3 weeks (120 hours) of dedicated programming time to fulfill the parent’s request. At the applicable wage rate of $84.95/hour, the requested work resulted in a $10,194 price tag.”
Regardless, Eppolito can’t help but feel he should be able to easily access any information the public school system collects on his kids.
“This data is for everyone except the parents," he said. "It’s wrong.”