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.
- There is a whole section of current federal FERPA regulations allowing the disclosure of individual student data without consent (All quotes in this next section are from §99.31 of the FERPA regulations)
*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.