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Missouri Education Watchdog, Gretchen Logue

Russell Winn follows up on his article about the Huntsville School District signing a contract for a program to track conversations between parents and children in their homes. He provides (via youtube) a previous Board meeting with LENA presentation and a recording of the conversation between the Board and representatives from Lena Research Foundation as they briefly discuss the recordings between families.

Watch the video presentation (screenshot above from the presentation) which shows the representative’s claim that actual words are not counted, ‘just the sound’ (12:00 mark). As Winn points out, this is a contradiction to what is posted on LENA’s website. Winn writes:

What We Currently Know About the LENA Program of Recording Children

The board is planning to, as Dr. Cooper stated during her introduction of Mr. Davison, reach down and start touching students when they are infants and toddlers to help close the word gap beginning in May 2015.

Recruitment for this program will start immediately in March and April with their community partners. They will recruit children from “birth to thirty months.“

The first round of classes will begin in May. This will be an 8-week session, and then the district will follow up with a monthly meeting for 10 months to make sure that parents are still on track.”

The community partners include: Huntsville Hospital, “the other hospital” (presumably Crestwood Medical Center), United Way and “various groups.”

The meetings will be held at Ridgecrest Elementary School and Second Mile Development.

The community partners will provide incentives for attending and allowing the children to be recorded. According to Dr. Wardynski, “when mom and dad come, they can leave with a box of diapers, and baby formula, stuff like that.”

Presumably the community partners will identify low-income parents to participate in the program. These parents will be recruited to participate in a curriculum called “Smarter Happier Baby” (SHB). Mr. Davison claims, “it’s not, a lot of times we’ve found that it’s not that the parents don’t want to, they don’t know how to” talk to their children.

Every “stakeholder” will have access to the data that is compiled by the program. As an example, Mr. Davison claimed that if it were 1:00am, and he wanted to check up on how “our students” (children birth to 30 months are students now) are doing, he can pull up that data on his smartphone wherever he is. Thus, the “stakeholders” who can access the data they are compiling include:

  • Huntsville City Schools employees,
  • LENA Foundation employees, partners, “coordinators/educators, administrative staff, and other users of the service,”
  • Presumably the community partners (Huntsville Hospital must have some reason to participate as a stakeholder who recruit and give diapers to parents),
  • and perhaps parents, although they will be receiving a “hard copy” of a report….

There is no data to back up the company’s claim of success. Winn offers these observations about the Board’s reaction…..


Continue Reading – Update: ‘Stakeholders’ will Supply Free Diapers, Formula if Public School Parents Agree to Track Personal Conversations with their Babies