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make a difference

Every state group opposing Common Core or ESSA, anyone opposing Fed-Led, every parent concerned about data mining their child, every teacher, should simply write in and at least say NO.   Our silence infers compliance.

The Federal Government has a proposal to collect sensitive personal information of teachers and children, including personally identifiable student discipline records and IEP records.  The proposal is open for public review and comment until FEB. 18th.

You can see the U.S. Department of Education data collection proposal here. Very few have commented. One group representing online learning, iNACOL, left comments in favor of the data collection, here.  iNACOL encourages USDOE to sample schools that use personalized learning and competency-based approaches because “Technology-based models can allow for rapid capture of student performance data.” (If  iNACOL sounds familiar, this is the organization representing online schools whose CEO said, “Online learning is a trojan horse for education reform.”)

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), also commented and said no.  EPIC issued this warning complaint to USDoE.  Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post wrote about the complaint field by EPIC and alerted Americans to the Federal data grabbing proposal. See an excerpt from the WaPo article here:

“The U.S. Education Department’s new planned system of records that will collect detailed data on thousands of students — and transfer records to private contractors —  is being slammed by experts who say there are not adequate privacy safeguards embedded in the project.

The non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, told the department in a January 2016 formal complaint (see below) that its new system of records for the “Impact Evaluation of Data-Driven Instruction Professional Development for Teachers” violates the Privacy Act by:

(1) collecting irrelevant and unnecessary information and (2) not clearly stating the purpose of the proposed routine use disclosures. EPIC recognizes the need to evaluate educational programs, including professional development of teachers. However, this particular study appears to be one more effort by the agency to transfer sensitive student data to private contractors without any meaningful privacy safeguards.” [emphasis added]  –See full Washington Post article and EPIC complaint here.

Another privacy group, led by parents, has also commented. You can view the letter sent in by the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy here. They believe the USDoE  should be obligated to:

  • explain why aggregate information can’t be used instead of personally identifiable information;
  • specifically define the personally identifiable elements that will be collected and why each data element is needed;
  • notify parents of student who are involved in the study, or at least reveal which districts are participating, and report the names of any other third parties to whom the personally identifiable information will be disclosed;
  • demand that districts obtain informed consent from parents whose children are participating in the study;
  • demonstrate “significant improvement” in the four key areas identified as a result of a recent Congressional hearing on cybersecurity, or at least report what security protections will be used to safeguard the data;
  • disclose specifically when the data will be deleted or destroyed;
  • explain why the federal government has a need to collect or maintain any personally identifiable data when districts could provide it directly to the researchers for their analysis.

Feel free to read through the comments,  cut and paste, paraphrase when making your comment. It doesn’t have to be fancy or technical. From the heart is best. Just please don’t let this opportunity go unchecked. Let them know that we will not sit quietly while they collect personal predictive information of children without parental consent, and incredibly, without a clear educational purpose, other than to seemingly hand the data off to a vendor. While you are at it, remind that this U.S. law, 20 U.S. Code § 1015c -states that a national database of student information is prohibited.

Click here to send in your comment.  We only have today.

Cheri Kiesecker