Multiple States Deny Parents the Right to Opt a Child Out of SLDS Tracking   15 comments

Data Baby

I’ve previously displayed the letter that I received from my Utah State School Board, which told me that the answer was no to the question of whether a parent could opt a Utah child out of the State Longitudinal Database System.

And today I’m sharing another, very similar letter that was received by a parent in Florida, from the Florida Department of Education.

Red and Yellow Florida Letter

So, the “Bureau Chief” of the PK20 Florida Data Warehouse informed the Florida parent that he was “unable to identify opt out provisions to PK2O Education Data Warehouse.” That’s right: unable to identify an opt out provision.

Parents like me are unable to identify any constitutional provision whereby parents might be ethically overridden so that a federal-state partnership could then track personally identifiable information about our children without our parental consent in a federally promoted and funded State Longitudinal Database System!

Are other parents in all of the other states receving similar responses from SLDS or P-20 systems managers?

Is this not America?
Why can’t we opt our children out? This is unacceptable, not parentally authorized, government-assumed, long-term, nonacademic and academic, individual, family and career surveillance. Don’t believe it? Study what the 50 SLDS systems and the Data Quality Campaign and the Common Educational Data Standards do.

If there was a state left in America that didn’t now have an SLDS tracking system that followed kids –without parental consent from early childhood through workforce and beyond– I would want to move there.

But there isn’t one. Every single state fell for the stupid lure and built a federally-specified State Longitudinal Database System. At least, for now, we can still opt our children out of the Common Core testing.

But this is America. Why can’t we opt our kids out of being tracked by SLDS? Is it really impossible to impart reading, writing and arithmetic without long term student surveillance? Really?

15 responses to “Multiple States Deny Parents the Right to Opt a Child Out of SLDS Tracking

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  1. Received a similar response from S.C. Dept. of Ed; in addition, I was told if I kept my children home to opt-out of the testing & commensurate data collection, I would be inviting truancy charges, & by extension, social service involvement. Of course social service agencies are also part of the “stakeholders” who will have input & access to the SLDS. They will get some data one way or another it seems. S.C. received approx. 14 million in grant money to expand the SLDS, aka: SLICE. Included w/ our student level data “package” is Pearson owned Power School.

  2. I received these responses from Washington state OSPI. No opting out in WA either.

    1. What specific data will be collected?

    The statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) is also known as “K-12 Data and Reports” and is available here: It contains aggregate information about student enrollment, assessment, educators, fiscal, and directory. One component of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System is the Comprehensive Education Data and Research System (CEDARS), which is how districts submit student information so that it can be summarized and reported at the state level. Information about CEDARS, including a data manual, is here:

    2. How will that data will be collected (current and/or past records, student surveys, teacher observations, etc.)?

    CEDARS data is submitted to OSPI by districts. The information is from current school year records, and is combined with prior submissions. CEDARS has student enrollment, program, and course-taking information. CEDARS does not have student survey or teacher observation information.

    3. Who will that data be released to, when, and for what purposes?

    The K-12 Data and Reports website (see #1 above) includes only aggregate information. For student measures such as assessment, special education and poverty, information is suppressed on the K-12 Data and Reports site if there are fewer than 10 students. OSPI shares identifiable student information only in specific circumstances, as outlined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA information, including some information about the exceptions for sharing data are here:

    4. When will/did data collection begin?

    CEDARS collection began in the 2009-10 school year. Prior to that, student enrollment data was collected via Core Student Record System (CSRS) which was in place 2004 – 2009. SLDS includes CEDARS and CSRS data, as well as assessment data from 2005 – 2012, as well as some other data sources including educator and school level information.

    5. Will parental requests to avoid their child’s participation in the data system be honored?

    All public school students are to be included in the data submissions. This allows such things as program evaluation and funding allocation.

    However, parents may opt out of having their student’s directory information shared by the school district. The link above about FERPA also has descriptions of directory information and opting out.

    6. Are individual districts able to opt-out of participating in data collection?

    No. OSPI requires all public school districts to submit information.

  3. Add Idaho to the list. We asked our State Department of Education (who contacted the State Attorney General) and the response was, “Parents have no authority under FERPA or any other federal or state law, to prevent school districts from entering such information in the SLDS.” I just want to scream the line you used, “IS THIS NOT AMERICA??” I was also told by our SDE that I have no right to opt my child out of the testing. Just watch me.

    I want you ladies to know how much your work is appreciated around the country. I am trying to live up to your example!

    • I just was told the same! I am beside myself! I WILL remove my children from school. I’ve heard of citizens involving the ACLU. Any advice on what we should do?

      • Danielle, I still have two of my children in public school. I opt them out of all surveys and tests, and I am working with legislators to write protective bills in our state. We need to define data as belonging to the child, not to the state, in our laws. We have to fight for our future grandchildren’s privacy. It is not enough to pull kids out of the system, although it’s a good option. We need to fix the system for the future generation.

  4. Good Morning

    Pacific Justice Institute has developed an opt out form for opting out of  data mining

    They have seperate forms for National and California.  Reasonable expectation of privacy. You may already be familiar with it. PJI will support  parents.

    There are some possible ways to encourage districts to  allow paper and pencil tests. The pocketbood for example. Lets suppose the entire district population of  children became too sick to go toschool  what would t cost the district ? The “sick out” has been used successfully in may situations.  Boycott. Homeschool

    Don’t just take it,

    Murray Bass

  5. I wish there were “like” buttons next to each comment. Thank you, Christel for the great research you do, and your readers!

  6. Alaska is a safe zone for home schoolers.

  7. Reblogged this on Maryland Values Educational Excellence and commented:
    Keep an eye on this from other States. Reports are also coming in from additional states on this topic. The SLDS is a national database system tracking each student from cradle to grave with over 460 different data point including voter registration, SSN, health records and other very personal data.

  8. What is the SLDS and how do you know if your school is already doing this?

  9. This is the info at my children’s school district website in Lancaster, NY…

  10. Pingback: Multiple States Deny Parents the Right to Opt a Child Out of SLDS Tracking | The Education Report


  12. Pingback: Has Your School Adopted All-Year-Round Common Core Testing? | COMMON CORE

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