MSD didn’t know what to do with his request, and it got slowly bumped up the food-chain. .... MSD called Ira back two days later. They told Ira that they don’t pay for vulnerability reports.
I wonder if as it migrated up the food chain the message got reworded from "do we have a security vulnerability programme or ability to pay for reports?" to "some dude is trying to blackmail us for cash about some 'security' thing. We're not falling for that shit, right?".
But they’ve already asked each school to provide the data to them, so surely it’s all there in one place even if they haven’t ‘aggregated’ it?
Ya, but I think "having it" in the form MoE got it from schools means the request should be passed off to them (since they created it). Even though (in this case) it would be several 1000 times easier...
NZTA wouldn't expect Treasury to respond to an OIA request with an NZTA document - it could lead to nasty surprises for NZTA; and there might be other relevant info that should be included (to help the requester) as well.
Has anyone written about the Ministry forwarding the OIA request to boards of trustees instead of answering it themselves?
It's pretty normal (see fyi.org.nz responses for some examples). I think the Ombudsmen/guidelines encourage the agency that is responsible for creating the information to be the ones to provide it... so in this case the schools. I guess MoE didn't provide aggregated data because they don't actually have it... otherwise they're just weaselling out.
If I’m a parent and I have a perfect, accurate and fair understanding of the data, then that is going to lead me to send my (average ability, no special needs, well parented) offspring to the school with the best results.
That’s in their interests. Rational self-interest.
Totally. But a system that relies on people having crappy information and/or being stupid to work doesn't seem like a good thing?
The education sector keeps saying the schools are more than just the data (and they are!). Pick N schools, read the last two ERO reports for each from cover to cover. *Then* you can probably make a rational decision for your kids.
When my family moved from Rotorua to Auckland, I chose & went to the multi-cultural low-decile mixing pot of Mt Roskill Grammar precisely because it wasn't an elite stuck-up boys school that Auckland Grammar came across as. I didn't want to do exams years early, I wanted to broaden what I was learning. And my folks supported me entirely. The impact of parents on kids learning is magnitudes more important than teachers, and the smart parents know that.
If the OIA is so important that you will not accept any limit to it, how do you suggest schools (those who care) make their protest against this use of this data?
There are limits already. Pretty significant ones that are used to weasel out of a lot of requests already - "national security", "commercial considerations", etc. I just don't want the net to open any wider.
Schools (and MoE, communities, and other interested parties) need to go on a PR offensive:
1. reaching out to media to help them understand the data and what it means. Ala Science Media Center.
2. proactively publishing alternatives based on better comparisons (eg. ERO). Ideally in advance, rather than in response... first in establishes credibility.
3. quickly refuting and correcting errors, and getting that out to as many people as possible. Help parents and the community understand what the numbers mean.
Not easy. But do-able. If this is going to be as important as we fear, then it's worth doing.
It isn’t legitimately public information*. It’s the private information of the community of students that form the school.
Do you think medical records should all be shoved up on an open website, so we can analyse how doctors and patients are doing, with pretty graphics and that?
Bullshit. So we shouldn't publish results of the census, or any medical research? Aggregating and suitably anonymising data to maintain privacy has happened for decades and is a known science.
I would suggest the following steps for school boards:
Either of which should result in staff being sacked for gross negligence.
Most people aren’t pro league tables. But many are supportive of the open data efforts that are getting taxpayers more & more access to public information, which we all paid for. Agencies are told “publish early”, “imperfect data is better than no data”, “don’t license restrictively”, and so on.
I’m just not sure we can have it both ways. If we start down “well, not for <insert controversial topic>”, pretty soon there’ll be no open data, no OIA and we’ll be back to the 70s. No thanks. It must stay broad and without exceptions.
People can get hold of data (education or otherwise) and “misuse” it already. And trying to stop them is like trying to stop Wikileaks or digital piracy – no amount of banning will actually achieve anything.
So what can we do?
- Not look?
- Aggressively publicise and aggregate ERO data/reports as the best way to compare schools?
- Discredit and actively refute Bad Science and Bad Comparisons made using data? A bit like NIWA did with the climate crazies.
[Edit: By "not look" i meant "don't collect data" - seems like a dumb idea to me, you can draw very sane conclusions and make good decisions from imperfect data. The problem isn't National Standards data, it's people drawing a "School X is Good/Bad" conclusion from it]
Tamaki Drive’s shared-use cycleway can be an inappropriate and even dangerous place to ride at commuting speeds. It’s a footpath with a white line, used by walkers, runners, bladers, dogwalkers and slow riders.
It also has power poles and signposts mid-path sprinkled along its length. I don't see Councils erecting signposts in the middle of road lanes, why has it ever been acceptable to do it in the middle of cycle lanes?
If you're in ChCh, you're okay (yay), mobile, and are able to check on people: Requests are starting to show up on the #eqnzContact hashtag...