Thursday, March 12, 2015

Healthy Kids survey becomes parental rights battleground

Dr. Larry Wolk talks to CBS about HKCS
When students in southern Colorado's Center School District fill out voluntary, anonymous surveys about their health and behavior, the answers do not get dumped into a report no one reads.
The district and agencies have used the data to land grants to tackle drug use and low parental involvement, superintendent George Welsh said.
Another grant paid for an abstinence-oriented program local officials credit for helping cut in half teen birth rates in Saguache County, where more than eight in 10 students live in poverty.
If districts must obtain permission from parents before students take the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, Welsh fears not enough will because they are too busy or not engaged, putting data at risk.
"The kids we don't get are likely to be the ones with the greatest needs," he said.
The fate of the every-other-year health survey is the latest political battleground over parental rights. Elected officials and parents who consider the survey intrusive say telling parents about it in advance and giving them a chance to opt out is not enough.
Requiring advanced permission, or "active consent," is part of Republican "Parent's Bill of Rights" legislation. On Thursday, the state Board of Education is expected to discuss requiring school districts to obtain parents' permission for student participation in Healthy Kids, which returns this fall.
State health officials and advocates for a variety of causes are lobbying against the change, saying it could leave communities in the dark, drive up costs and put funding at risk.
For the rest of the story, go to The Denver Post.

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