Longtime friend Kathy Kearny shared a post she made recently to the MaineHomeschooling email discussion group about the Maine Education Data Management System, also known as MEDMS:

“Be aware that if your homeschooled child DOES participate in courses at the public school through the homeschool public school access law (full text of law), then he or she WILL become part of the state database of all public school students, called ‘MEDMS’ (Maine Education Data Management System).

“This database is extensive, computerized, and contains all kinds of (somewhat personal plus some demographic) information about the child, including assessment information. Each child is given a unique identifier, so that even if the child moves to another state and then moves back to Maine, the electronic records can be retrieved and continued once they move back.

“MEDMS allows and requires schools to enter assessment data, ‘victims’ of the safe and drug-free schools law as well as student and staff offenders.

“Here are all the student data fields (note that only some are ‘required’ of schools to complete).

“Homeschooled students who use the public school access law to take one or more courses at the public school have their own “field” in this database. The reason (according to the Dept. of Ed., I called them to ask awhile back) is that the MEDMS database is used to calculate the state subsidy money each school receives, and public schools are reimbursed by the state for homeschooled students who use the public school access law (in quarter-subsidy increments, according to how many courses they take). I presume that in that case the other ‘required’ fields have to be completed.

“For more info see the Maine Dept. of Education website. (I recommend poking around this section of the site a little bit so you can see what sort of electronic info is being collected on students — let’s all hope that no one at the Dept. of Ed. takes the data home with them to work on, the way the Veterans Administration employee just did with the U. S. Veteran’s database, and has their laptop stolen!)

“I find MEDMS to be a little too Big-Brother-ish for my tastes, even though I’m in that database since I teach part-time in a public school.”

I’ll have more on this topic in a day or two.

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