RIVER FOREST, Ill. – The River Forest School District 90 has declined to participate in a controversial data collection program involving infants.

Baby_Infant_Doctor_Exam_StethoscopeThe Sun Times reports:

The River Forest School District 90 board has declined participate in the first round of a data collection project by the Oak Park-based Collaboration for Early Childhood Education and Chicago-based Erickson Institute.

District officials said they will see how things go with the inaugural data collection and may join next year.

The data collection is part of an ambitious program, considered unique in the nation, to track and provide services to Oak Park youngsters from infancy through high school to improve their education outcomes.

The newspaper doesn’t elaborate exactly what data would be collected, who would have access to it or how it would be used.

And it misspelled the name of the Erikson Institute – founded in 1966 by Barbara Bowman.

Bowman’s daughter is Valerie Jarrett, who is a senior advisor to President Obama.

The Institute is described as a “graduate school for child development.” Barbara Bowman continues to serve on the board.

Oak Park Elementary School District 97 already has agreed to participate in the data collection, and area private schools also are expected to be approached to join the study,” the Sun Times reports.

“We had talked about not seeing some clear positives, some clear pro points,” says District 90 board member Anne Gottlieb, according to the paper.

She who acted as the district’s liaison to the Collaboration on the project.

River Forest kindergarten teachers would have required to spend 20 minutes answering a 104-question survey for each child.

“District officials expressed concern that because of their contract, teachers might be willing to volunteer the time but could not be compelled to participate,” according to the paper.

District 97, District 200 and the village of Oak Park entered into a five-year cooperative agreement to fund the collection of data.

Each unit is required to pay up to $2 million to sustain the program.

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