How Long Until Utah “Complies” With Federal Requests for Hundreds of Data Points on Individuals? 16 comments
Today I called Jerry Winkler, Utah Information Technology Director to ask questions about the federally paid-for State Longitudinal Database System.
He was very gracious and I appreciated his willingness to answer questions.
I asked him if he could verify the information I’d received from the state school board, that the reason that a Utah student is not able to opt out of the SLDS tracking system, is because of limitations of technology.
( I had received that idea from the state school board: “Current data systems do not allow for individual student data to be withheld from the data submission process.”
See email here: http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/usoe-the-answer-is-no-can-a-student-attend-public-school-without-being-p-20slds-tracked/ )
But Jerry Winkler told me that it’s not a technology limitation.
“It’s a policy question,” he said, and directed me to inquire further about the policy from Carol Lear, the top lawyer at the Utah State Office of Education.
I shuddered. I know more than I want to about Carol Lear, the top U.S.O.E. lawyer. Just FYI: Carol Lear told me last year that since “the whole point is to be common” — it was of no importance that there’s no amendment process to Common Core. She also told me she believed a cost analysis had been done on Common Core in Utah, when there had not –and still has not. She displayed zero respect for the 10th Amendment and the General Educational Provisions Act. and told me that she had never heard of the Cooperative Agreement and she thought it was a hoax. Finally, she refused to respond to further questions and told me to go talk the the public relations department. With no sense of valiance in defending states’ rights, would Lear balk at caving in to any request the federal Dept. of Education made of Utah?
Back to today:
I asked Jerry Winkler how compliant our state has been, so far, to the requests from the federal government at the Data Quality Campaign and the National Data Collection Model, those federal websites which request hundreds of non-academic data points about children from schools (including nicknames, family, voting, income, health and psychological information, etc.)
He verfied that Utah does submit information gathered by schools to the federal government, but assured me that right now, Utah is giving only aggregated (grouped) information to the federal government (He verified that this takes place at the portal called the Edfacts Exchange )
Winkler said that right now, Utah is keeping dis-aggregated data (personally identifiable data) inside the state at the SLDS database.
“Who or what would change that?” I asked, “At what point will Utah give in to federal requests to give up disaggregated (personal) data to the federal government, as well? Who makes the call to be more “compliant” with the federal requests?
Carol Lear, he said. She is the one who would make the call.
Jerry Winkler also told me he believed that students could opt out of being tracked by the State Longitudinal Database System at the local LEA level, but if the data was entered by the LEA, it would automatically be sent to the SLDS and Utah Data Alliance, at which point opting out would end.
I had not heard this. I will be asking my LEA how to accomplish that.
I asked Jerry Winkler if he had read of the Department of Education’s destructive alterations to federal FERPA (privacy law) and of the lawsuit over the matter, brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
He had not heard of it.