State Education Chiefs Can’t Withdraw From Data Sharing – Even If They Wanted

Writes Dr. Karen Effrem, President of Education Liberty Watch and co-founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition in Truth in American Education:

On January 23rd, 2014, thirty-four chief state school officers sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan trying to reassure the public that individual student test data will not be given to the federal government and that data is safe as the Common Core national standards and federally funded and supervised national tests are put into place……(Their) statements are problematic on a multitude of levels for the following reasons:

*The testing consortia are under obligation to the U.S. Department of Education to provide individual student test data via the cooperative agreements that they signed

*The most applicable privacy law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), has been so weakened via regulation that there is no real protection of individual student data.

*Individual student data may be released without consent to organizations and entities that have “legitimate educational interests,” which basically means for any reason that a state or the federal governments or researchers or corporations want to use the data in conjunction with any state or federal program.

*This loss of data privacy when the federal government is both funding and supervising the development of the national tests is extremely worrisome,

*Given that the federal government admits  that the Common Core standards will be teaching and the aligned national tests will be assessing psychological or “non-cognitive” traits, parents should not be reassured by this letter

The only way to truly protect our children’s data is to restore local control of education that has been usurped by the unconstitutional presence and actions of the US Department of Education. Until that ultimate goal is reached, we will work to remove each of our states from the state longitudinal data systems and demand genuine state developed standards and assessments, instead of name changes, cosmetic adjustments to the Common Core standards, and deceptive reassurances about state control of test data.

Effrem has explained how the state chiefs’ position is trumped by existing law. They can’t say no, even if they wanted to. Effrem’s reference to “cosmetic adjustments to Common Core standards” and “deceptive reassurances about state control of test data” is easily applied to Florida commissioner Pam Stewart.

Effrem wrote on behalf of an astonishing seven national organizations and twenty-nine state organizations. This surge of opposition combined with the precarious position that state chiefs are assures that the Common Core – data sharing – national testing consortium debacle won’t be going away.



About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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One Response to State Education Chiefs Can’t Withdraw From Data Sharing – Even If They Wanted

  1. One thing to note: It’s not really the movement to Common Core that actually created this federal government need for student data. I believe it started with NCLB and the push to see how Title I students/schools are doing. Districts are required to send in that sort of student data and have been for a number of years. In order to compare Title I students/schools with the rest of the student population, that information is also shared.

    Let me be clear, I don’t like it. Student privacy is a big deal. The changes made to FERPA were disgusting. There should be a way to share the date without identifying information. It pains me to think of any sort of leak of personally identifying information, including the fact that I don’t want to receive any solicitation from charter schools or voucher programs, etc.

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