Many call the data collection of common core, the “creepy” part of Common Core. Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, required all 50 states to build a Statewide Longitudinal Data System(SLDS). States are required to build a P-20 database, pre-school through doctorate. South Dakota’s is called Student Teacher Accountability System (STARS). We have gone one step further and said we will design our SLDS to be able to expand to the workforce. You can find the grant application for $5 million and amount awarded, $3 million, here. On page 13 of the application this paragraph is a pretty good summary of SD STARS.
One of the requirements of this system is that it be able to share personally identifiable information with other agencies, across state lines and with other stakeholders. In the United States it is illegal to have a federal data bank of children. Yet that is essentially what this system is set up to do. The system had to be federally accessible. But, the federal government had something that was preventing them from accessing the data or the amount of data that they wanted.
In 1974 Congress passed the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, also known as FERPA. FERPA was set up to protect personally identifiable student data. In 2011, the United States Department of Education, took this law and they changed it. The 2011 amendments allow the release of student records for non-academic purposes and undermine parental consent provisions.The changes also promote the public use of student IDs that enable access to private educational records. This was done not through an act of Congress, but through a regulation. Regulations are looked upon the same as law.
Where parental consent used to be a must, now it is considered a best practice. The US DOE took the words authorized representative and changed the meaning. Authorized Representative can mean almost anyone. By one account, it can even mean the lunch lady.
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), has filed suit against the US DOE claiming that the Department lacks the statutory authority to amend FERPA to make student data more available and accessible to third parties– effectively changing the privacy law.
Restore Oklahoma Public Education has covered this issue extensively with regards to Oklahoma. On their website is a screen shot of the suggested data points to be collected that have been scrubbed from the National Education Data Model website. You can see that the US DOE originally made public that suggested data points were, blood type, birthmark, weight, weight at birth. Those have now been scrubbed from the website.
There is a “current” national data model set up by the National Center for Educational Statistics NCES. There are hundreds of points of data that they suggest collecting. Things such as voter status, religious affiliation, and bus stop times. You can find the “current” data points here. I ask you what is to prevent them from adding the scrubbed data points back into the framework? Another government document answering the who, what, how and why of the data collection.
Here is more information on South Dakota’s LDS.
I am not saying that your district or state is collecting this personal information at this time, but the framework is in place for this type of data to be collected and shared. If there is no plan to collect and share personally identifiable information about our children, why set up the framework? I think that we need assurances that this personal data about our children and families will not be collected and shared.
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