GROTON — The Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee is being asked to provide detailed teacher information to comply with a federal program.
The School Committee last week heard from district data manager Sharon O’Connor about research needed to comply with a federally mandated program called Education Personnel Information Management System (EPIMS).
According to O’Connor, EPIMS has been required by the federal government, as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, to track the comings and goings of teachers across the country. The information about teachers is needed to make sure only qualified educators are being hired to teach in schools.
Though some personal information such as a teacher’s race may seem unnecessary and irrelevant, O’Connor said, most of it had already been collected by schools as a matter of course.
With the data in place, school officials across the country will presumably be able to check on the qualifications and history of any teacher applying for a position in their district, further ensuring that children receive only the best instruction.
In addition to teachers, those school employees covered by the report include administrators, paraprofessionals, career and technical education staff, special educators and other professional staff members.
When completed, EPIMS will assign each person in its files a MEPID, or Massachusetts Education Personnel ID.
Educational staff coming under the description of those covered by EPIMS had no choice in whether they were included in the report or not. According to O’Connor, if subjects refused to divulge such information as race (which was never required when the district kept its own records of employees, data gatherers were required to fill the space with whatever they wanted.
School Committee member Forrest Buzan described the information request as “racial profiling.”
The deadline for submittal of the district’s data is January 2008. — Pierre Comtois