Archive for the ‘student data’ Tag

Weighing Data-Driven Decision Making Against Privacy Under Common Core   5 comments

fish

Should parents have the right to opt out of having children essentially stalked by SLDS, the State Longitudinal Database?

The State School Board doesn’t think so.

Boiling down the  conflict about personal data, we get to two ideas; which one do you value more?

It’s either:

1) –  Our Constitutional right to be free from “unreasonable search and seizure” of “private effects” (unless there truly is some “probable cause” of our guilt)

OR:

2) –  The corporate and government-backed movement to gather and share “robust data” to enable “data-driven decisions” that may serve educational research.

Take some time.  Think about it.  We cannot have our cake and eat it, too.

Many organizations, agencies and movements have begun to depend on the second philosophy and Utah has aligned its school systems and other government agencies to it– without thinking too deeply about it.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hosts the White House “Datapalooza” event and  gives speeches about the wonders of data collection. He persuades unrelated governmental agencies to share personal data. His right-hand woman, Joanne Weiss, encourages inter-agency “data-mashing.”  And Duncan not only supports, but has been the main speaker at Data Quality Campaign’s summit.  This is key. I’ll tell you all about the DQC.

Data Quality Campaign” has  many  partners  including (no coincidence) all of the Common Core creators and testers!   “Achieve,” “National Governors’ Association,”  “Council of Chief State School Officers,” “American Institutes for Research,” “PESC” (a council that makes data standards common) and MANY more share the DQC’s “vision of an education system in which all stakeholders… are empowered with high-quality data from the early childhood, K–12, postsecondary, and workforce systems.”

From the DQC’s site:  “as states build and enhance K12 longitudinal data systems they continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce and with other critical agencies such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”

Do you share that vision?

On November 12, 2009, at a Data Quality Campaign conference, (note: the keynote speaker was an NGA leader; NGA copyrighted Common Core)  they encouraged “the status of states’ ability to link data across agencies and provided several state case studies of promising strategies to sharing individual-level data across systems and agencies.”

And  Utah was “honored” by DQC for providing an example of linking criminal justice agencies, educational agencies, medical agencies, etc. using school-collected data and common data standards. Some data on a child that had been USOE-collected  (private student data) was accessed by Utah’s Department of Human Services, according to this DQC brief, because of Utah MOUs that permitted data exchanges.  Excerpt:
“Utah’s State Office of Education (USOE) has an extensive data warehouse, but initially, concerns about student privacy protection, especially related to the federal FERPA legislation, prohibited data sharing. However, Human Services worked with the USOE to develop two memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to permit data exchange and mitigate student privacy concerns. One MOU established that the state serves as the child’s parent when the child is in state custody. Although this MOU often is not employed, it did clarify the role of the state and its permission to attain and view student records housed in the USOE. The second MOU established that by connecting these two databases to evaluate the educational outcomes of children who aged out of foster care. Utah Human Services was conducting research on behalf of the USOE and, therefore, could be granted access to student-level data.  http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/files/65_meetings-dqc_quarterly_issue_brief_091807.pdf

Why isn’t this stuff in the papers?

But DQC reminds us that “Every Governor and Chief State School Officer agreed to build longitudinal data systems that can follow individual students from early learning through secondary and postsecondary education and into the workforce as a condition for receiving State Fiscal Stabilization Funds. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) not only provided states the venture and political capital to build on the growing momentum behind statewide longitudinal data systems, but also offered state agencies the chance to think creatively and break down traditional silos. For policymakers, educators, parents, and students to have the information they need to improve student and system performance, state K-12 longitudinal data systems must be able to exchange and use information across the early learning, postsecondary, and workforce sectors as well as health and social services systems.”

Data Baby

So, to ponder how this affects YOUR child:

DQC is partnered with American Institutes for Research (AIR) which is Utah’s Common Core test maker for the Computer Adaptive Math and English Common Core test, also known as the SAGE test.  (FYI, AIR is fully partnered with SBAC, the testing group Utah dropped in 2012.)

American Institutes for Research  will not only test Common Core standards teachings, but will also upload all Utah student test takers’ personally identifiable information, academic and nonacademic information into its database.

(Why the nonacademic information too?  Because Utah’s HB15 mandates that behavioral indicators will be tested and conveniently, AIR is a psychometrics specialist.)

Understandably, all over the country and in my own home state of Utah, legislators are scrambling to create student data protection bills.  But they face a problem that most maybe don’t want to see.

Every state has a federally-invented SLDS:  State Longitudinal Database System. In Utah, we have been recipients of millions of dollars (and have been entangled in the federal strings that have come with those dollars) because we agreed to the four education reform assurances that came with the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund money (ARRA Stimulus funding).  And we agreed to build our SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System) to federal specs.  So did all the other states.  It’s an illegal, de facto national database because of that interoperability factor and because we’ve agreed to it through PESC.

We built the SLDS monster. Now legislation is trying to put a muzzle and a leash on him.   Why keep him around at all?

The SLDS’s core function is “to fulfill federal reporting.”   This fact comes from the PESC State Core Model, which Utah agreed to when the Utah Data Alliance  agreed to the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) Model and the SIF (interoperability framework) in the SLDS grant application –which means all of our data will be interoperable and sharable across state lines. The PESC’s State Core Model deliberately aligns different states’ SLDS data systems so that they all match.

Not surprisingly, the PESC model was developed by the unelected, private trade group, CCSSO, as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) funded by the Gates Foundation. (CCSSO is the same private group that developed and copyrighted Common Core standards). The PESC “establishes comparability between sectors and between states” and brags that it “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting…”

The agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA Data Grant: “The UDA will adhere to standards such as the School Interoperability Framework (SIF), the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC)

Not good.

Nothing’s preventing agencies from sharing data.  In fact, the DQC praises those who, like Utah’s USOE, have created ways to share data with other agencies.

fish bigger

But there’s an even bigger fish to fry.

Although, years ago, there was a protective federal privacy law called FERPA, it’s been corrupted by the Department of Education.

Federal FERPA laws have been grossly loosened.  Every federal agency I can find, including the NCES and the Department of Education are encouraging us to pool data.

The U.S. Department of Education’s intentions are further, very clearly, revealed in the student-level data-sharing mandate in its cooperative testing agreements (and in the contrast between what Secretary Arne Duncan says and does.)

The bottom line is that we should not align any privacy law with federal FERPA and we should shut the SLDS monster’s big mouth by creating opt-out allowances for parents to protect their children from this big government stalker.

I have serious concerns about a bill that’s being written in Utah right now, SB0049, which aligns with federal FERPA’s definitions of “personally identifiable information” and “authorized representative.”

Reading this bill, I could hardly believe that Utah legislators care to protect us.

Surely legislators have read that the Department of Education has, without Congressional approval, altered federal FERPA to loosen privacy protections by having redefined terms. (This resulted in a big law suit with the Electronic Privacy Information Center.) The loosening of student privacy protections by the federal government took place during the same time as the Department of Education was creating national school assessment contracts that stated that the Department would access student-level data through the assessments “subject to applicable privacy law.” Thus they changed the law to suit their data-hungry point of view. The federal FERPA reduced parental consent over student data from a requirement to a “best practice”!

It changed the definition of “personally identifiable information” to include biometric information, which includes DNA, handwriting, iris scans, fingeprints, as well as behavioral information

Is this what we want for Utah?

Behavioral and belief-based information on a child is without question going to be collected by Utah’s math and English tests by psychometric embedding by test writer and psychometric specialist AIR -American Institutes for Reasearch. Utah gave AIR $39 million to do this terrible mistake when the Utah legislature mandated it, in HB15, the Computer Adaptive Testing bill.

To align state privacy laws with federal definitions is to guarantee a toothless and spineless pretense of protection.

This is not hyperbole.  Follow the money trail to see who has a vested interest in denying parents and students authority over their own private data.  We can’t afford to give our ear to those who are making the money from the exposure of student data to “researchers” —who are really just greedy vendors.

Microsoft owner Bill Gates, who has called schools a “uniform customer base” has paid hundreds of millions to align common data standards with common educational standards. He has partnered with Pearson (who is contracted to make Utah’s UTREX) which pushes the same thing. Gates/Pearson partnered with the Midvale, Utah-based School Improvement Network, which pushes the same thing.  They give lip service to student privacy, but none of these groups seems to want to see REAL protection for privacy.

Do you?

Advertisements

My, What Big Data Teeth you have, Grandmother: An Open Letter to Utah Legislators   11 comments

Dear Utah Legislator,

I’m writing to you as a mother to ask you to put a stop to the use of Utah’s school systems as snooping agents on our children.

Corporate and federal partnerships and Utah state data systems and interstate partnerships now watch and track our children without anyone having asked for parental consent to do so.

Some Utah leaders are working hard to fortify privacy rights, I know. But many powerful organizations, departments and corporations are working hard to ignore, dismiss, or stop any efforts to defend student privacy– all with great intentions but absolutely without authority.

The result is a data collecting and sharing network that represents loss of parental authority and loss of individual privacy.

In recent years, Utah built and is now using a federally structured and paid-for ($9.6 M) State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) from which no parent is permitted to opt their child out.

This lack of liberty should be a red flag.

But few Utahns know that their child is being tracked and very few know that they can’t opt out of that tracking.

Fewer still know that there’s a Utah Data Alliance (UDA) that links K-12 data, collected by schools, with higher ed., with the State workforce and other agencies.

Utah’s UDA has agreed to use the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) State Core Model –which means all of our data will be interoperable and sharable across state lines. The PESC’s State Core Model aligns different states’ SLDS data systems so that they all match.

I am not saying that Utah agencies are sharing private data yet; I am saying that there’s nothing strong preventing them from doing so and that school systems are moving in the direction of more and more data commonality and disaggregation of student data. (see point 4 at that link.)

Countless entities have lined up with a “Data Quality Campaign” to make sure all their data points and technologies match, so that student information can be pooled.

Federal FERPA laws, previously protective of student data, have now been grossly loosened, and federal agencies including the NCES and the Department of Education, as well as White House events such as “Datapalooza” and White House Chiefs such as Joanne Weiss, are encouraging us to pool data, while (weakly) noting that student privacy is, of course, important. Yet proper protections are missing.

The Department of Education does a two-faced dance, asking for “robust data” and altering FERPA on the one hand, and insisting that they don’t even collect student data when speaking to the press. The U.S. Department of Education’s intentions are, however, revealed in the student-level data-sharing mandate in its cooperative testing agreements and in the contrast between what Secretary Arne Duncan says and does.

The PESC model was developed by the unelected, private trade group, CCSSO, as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) funded by the Gates Foundation. (CCSSO is the same private group that developed and copyrighted Common Core standards). The PESC Model, in its own definition, “includes early childhood, elementary and secondary, post-secondary, and workforce elements, known as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states.”

PESC states that it “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting…”

I find this alarming. You might find it hard to believe that Utah is lined up with it.

So here is the evidence:

The agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA Data Grant: “The UDA will adhere to standards such as the School Interoperability Framework (SIF), the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and other XML schemas.”

Here is the PESC State Core Model abstract.

“1.0 Abstract

The State Core Model is a common technical reference model for states implementing state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) adoption work with funding from the Gates Foundation…The State Core Model will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting (EDEN/EDFacts)…
The Model [can replace] 625 distinct Federal reporting types with record-level data collections.

… The Model is designed to address unique, complex P20 SLDS relationships, business rules, and entity factoring… It addresses student-teacher link, common assessment data model, and comes pre-loaded with Common Core learning standards.

The State Core Model consists of three principle artifacts… All three artifacts can be downloaded and used without charge or attribution from [the EIMAC group site].”

Data Baby

And, what is EIMAC? In case you hadn’t heard of EIMAC: it’s the branch of the CCSSO that “advocates on behalf of states to reduce data collection burden and improve the overall quality of the data collected at the national level.” Yes, they said that out loud. They collect data at the national level without authority nor any representation.

But, but– (we say) –Aren’t we protected by GEPA law and by the Constitution from any sort of “accountability” to federal agencies in educational matters or privacy matters including “unreasonable searches”?

Not if our legislators don’t defend these rights.

According to the PESC document, on page 5, we are drowning in “federal accountability”. There are at least 625 federal reports mentioned at PESC. A few include: http://www.pesc.org/library/docs/Common%20Data%20Standards/State%20Core%20Model%2011-17.pdf

EDEN – EDFacts 79 file types
CRDC – Civil Rights Data Collection 2 parts
SFSF – State Fiscal Stabilization Fund 33 indicators, 3 descriptors
MSRI – Migrant Student Records Exchange Initiative
CSPR – Consolidated State Performance Reports 191 Indicators
OSEP – Office of Special Education Programs 34 indicators
IPEDS – Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
CCD – Common Core Data (fiscal) Financial data collected in survey format
SDFSCA – Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Data are collected in CSPR
M-V – McKinney-Vento Collected through CSPR.
Perkins – Perkins Act
RTTT – Race to the Top N/A
TIF – Teacher Incentive Fund 6 Sections
N or D Annual Report of Neglected and Delinquent (N or D) Children Collected through CSPR”

—————–

To clarify: the document that signed us up for PESC is the Utah application for the ARRA grant for a SLDS database. (This document resulted in Utah receiving $9.6 million from the federal government, none of which was used for actual education, but only to build the student database (SLDS).)

That SLDS grant application talks about authorizing de-identification of data for research and it says that individuals will be authorized to access personal student information in the various Utah agencies that belong to UDA.

Who are these individuals? How many of them are there? Why does the UDA trust them with information that parents weren’t even told was being gathered on our children?

NON-COGNITIVE AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DATA, TOO.

Starting at page 87, we read how non-cognitive behaviors that have nothing to do with academics, will be collected and studied by school systems.

These include “social comfort and integration, academic conscientiousness, resiliency, etc.” to be evaluated through the psychometric census known as the “Student Strengths Inventory. (SSI)”

The SSI inventory –your child’s psychological information– will be integrated into the system (SLDS) and there are plans to do this for earlier grades, but for now it’s for 11th and 12th graders. Demographic information is captured while administering the test and SSI data will be given to whomever it is assumed needs to see it. (This is not a parental decision but a state decision.)

INTEGRATING STUDENT PSYCHOMETRIC CENSUS DATA INTO THE SLDS SYSTEM:

The SLDS grant also promises to integrate our psychological data into the SLDS (that database which the feds paid for/pushed on us.)

“Utah’s Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance programs have substantial Student Education Occupation Plan, (SEOP) data, but they are not well integrated with other student data. With the introduction of UtahFutures and the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) and its focus on noncognitive data, combining such data with other longitudinal student level data to the USOE Data
Warehouse
the UDA. Both the USOE (K-12) and the Postsecondary Outcomes and Data Needs
sub-sections will address these needs.”

(My, what big data collection teeth you have, Grandmother!The better to integrate you with, my dear.)

Next, on page 87 of the same grant, Utah’s application for the ARRA money, it says:

“… psychosocial or noncognitive factors… include, but are not limited to educational commitment, academic engagement and conscientiousness, social comfort and social integration, academic self-efficacy, resiliency… Until recently, institutions had to rely on standardized cognitive measures to identify student needs.
… We propose to census test all current student in grades 11 and 12 and then test students in grade 11 in subsequent years using the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) – a measure of noncognitive attitudes and behaviors.”

So the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) is a “psychometric census” to be taken by every 11th and 12th grade student in Utah. That’s how they’re gathering the psychological data.

But that’s not the only way psychological data is being taken in Utah schools. “Behavioral indicators” are also required to be collected by the Common Core tests, those math and English A.I.R. or SAGE tests, as Utah House Bill 15, aka the Common Core Computer Adaptive Testing Bill, demands.

What can we do?

markey images

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Markey has taken action. He articulated his concerns on this subject in a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan. Other legislators around the nation are writing bills to take protective action for student privacy.

I hope all Utah legislators read Senator Markey’s letter, peruse the PESC and ARRA (SLDS) grant documents, look into the SSI surveys, study the machinations of Secretary Arne Duncan,and then take action to put an end to the unreined and ever-growing network of entities which collude for profit and for other, various control-related reasons, to dismiss the vital right of student privacy.

This would mean ending the “partnerships” by Utah with: the CCSSO, the Data Quality Campaign, the PESC State Model, the SLDS interoperability framework, the National Data Collection Model, the CEDS program of EIMAC; it would mean creating proper protections inside the Utah Data Alliance, and most of all, it would mean establishing permission from parents prior to any student SLDS surveillance.

Thank you.

Christel Swasey
Utah Mother

J.R. Wilson: Parents Need to Know About Student Data Privacy   1 comment

J.R. Wilson gave me permission to repost http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/jr-wilson-parents-need-to-know-about-student-data-privacy/ this article in full.

He added:   “Within a few days of finishing this article and it being published at Education Week I happened across some additional information.  I found an article that stated that three pieces of information can uniquely identify an individual 87% of the time—-those three pieces of data—-gender, five-digit zip code, and birth date.  You can bet that information is in the SLDS.  Wouldn’t that constitute personally identifiable information?”

Parents Need to Know About Student Data Privacy

 

 

Trusting Parents

When enrolling or filling out forms during the school year, parents give schools personal information about themselves and their child. A school employee enters the information into the school office computer.  No thought is given to this since computers are a good way to store, organize, and manage data. Most parents don’t realize the data doesn’t stay In the school office computer.  The computer is networked and shares data with other computers. This information or data once it is entered becomes a part of a district or multi-district database that is uploaded to a state longitudinal data system at least once a month.

Are parents informed this is happening with personal information they provide?  Are parents asked permission, or consent, for their information to become part of a database beyond the confines and use of the brick and mortar school?  Should parents be made aware of this practice?  Should they be required to give consent?

State Longitudinal Data Systems, Purposes, and Prohibition

The state longitudinal data systems are for preschool through grade 12 education and post secondary education or P-16.  Basically, states are collecting data on all preschool through grade 16 individuals.  It is interesting to note for the purposes of data collection, the “P” for preschool means birth to school.  They want to collect data from the time of birth through an individual’s career.

Federal legislation calls for the collection of data to include:

  • gender,
  • ethnic or racial groups,
  • limited English proficiency status,
  • migrant students,
  • disabilities,
  • economically disadvantaged,
  • assessment results,
  • demographics,
  • student-level enrollment,
  • program participation,
  • courses completed,
  • student transcript information,
  • transfers, teachers,
  • family income.

Will state longitudinal data systems collect data beyond what is called for in legislation?  What is the purpose of the data collection?  How will it be used?  What will be next?  Collecting prenatal data?  The pre-conception gleam in the eye data?  In addition to the state longitudinal data systems containing far more information on students, parents, and teachers than necessary for educational purposes, I believe the system will eventually include information on all taxpayers with or without kids (twowks) so they may be held adequately accountable for how others spend their hard earned tax dollars.

There has been a push for state longitudinal data systems for many years. As early as 1965, the initial Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) mentions providing support for collecting and storing data and using automated data systems.  Federal legislation and programs encourage or require data collection systems and the development of state longitudinal data systems. These include:

  • Goals 2000
  • Educate America Act
  • Improving America’s Schools Act
  • No Child Left Behind
  • America Competes Act
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Race to the Top.  (see sidebar)

Each state has a State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and names their SLDS a little differently to suit their own creativity.  As an example, Oregon has Project ALDER:  Advancing Longitudinal Data for Educational Reform and Washington has CEDARS:  Comprehensive Education Data and Research System.

The early stated purposes for data collection was to determine things like graduation rates, job placement rates, and program effectiveness.  The Race to the Top created mandates for data systems to be used to inform decisions and improve instruction.  While this is laudable, it is questionable as the driving need for data collection. An abundance of available data and research findings has been ignored in the reform education decision-making process. Many reform measures being pushed from the federal level on down have no evidence of effectiveness–some have evidence of negative effectiveness — yet continue to be foisted upon the states and local districts to implement.  Are our decision makers Confusing Evidence and Politics?  Do they really have our students’ academic interest as a top priority?  Does anyone know how to make effective decisions based on this information?  Will the information be so overwhelming as to be useless except for cherry picking to support pet programs?  Who will benefit most?  Our students?  Private corporations?  Non-profit corporations?  Individuals and groups in positions of power and authority?

Our society’s moral and ethical values may have slipped to the point that individuals and groups in positions of power and authority feel it is appropriate to publicly release information that most people feel is confidential.  Recently, state officials in Oklahoma posted private educational records of several students online.  This information may not have come from their state longitudinal data system but think of the control and power such information provides, especially if one is able to personally identify individuals.  When big brother has the informational goods on the public, are people likely to speak up or will they maintain a cautious place in line?

There is a prohibition on the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information (PII).  The Act that created No Child Left Behind says:

PROHIBITION ON NATIONWIDE DATABASE.

‘‘Nothing in this Act (other than section 1308(b)) shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this Act. 20 USC 7911.

Does that mean it is okay to develop a nationwide database provided no personally identifiable information is used?  It appears the federal government is dancing around the issue of developing a nationwide database.  While the federal government is not developing it, they are supporting, promoting, encouraging, and funding with tax dollars the development of state longitudinal data systems.  An effort, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is well underway, with federal encouragement, to have the state longitudinal data systems compatible for data sharing between and among states.  This effort will result in a defacto nationwide database.

The Data Quality Campaign’s report Data for Action 2011 Empower with Data indicates no states having all 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems in place in 2005.  In 2011 every state had at least 7 of the 10 Elements in place and thirty-six states had all 10 Elements in place.

The Data Quality Campaign lists the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) among its Partners.  The NGA and the CCSSO joined efforts in an initiative to develop the Common Core State Standards and shares some of the same partners.  Both the Data Quality Campaign and Common Core State Standards Initiative have been supported with grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (see 1, 2, 3).  The Common Core State Standards has provided investors and entrepreneurs with a lucrative market place.  Besides the technology industry and service industry, who stands to financially gain from the Data Quality Campaign and the state longitudinal data systems?

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) are working to Promote the Voluntary Adoption of a Model of Common Data Standards and say:

The U.S. Department of Education will facilitate the leveraging, and where needed, the development of model common data standards for a core set of student-level variables to increase comparability of data, interoperability and portability of data, and reduce collection burden.

Funding for State Longitudinal Data Systems

Leveraging Federal Funding for Longitudinal Data Systems – A Roadmap for States shows some federal programs encouraging states to use funds for longitudinal data systems.  These programs include Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants Program, Race to the Top, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C, Carl D. Perkins and Technical Education Act of 2006, Title I, Teacher Incentive Fund, Striving Readers Program, Child Care and Development Block Grant, Workforce Data Quality Initiative, Workforce Innovation Fund, and the Workforce Investment Act.

It is difficult to determine how much taxpayer money states have spent on longitudinal data systems.  As indicated above, there are numerous sources of funds available.  The Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants Program does show how much grant money has been awarded to each state from their program.  Since 2006 over $612 million has been awarded with $254 million of that in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (stimulus) funds.  Information from this program’s website has been compiled into a table showing amounts each state has been awarded.

Personally Identifiable Information, Data Mining and Matching, and Security Breaches

State longitudinal data systems are not to permit students to be individually identified by users of the system.  What about abusers of the system?  Data from state longitudinal data systems can be matched with data from other databases enabling the identification of individuals no matter how much effort is put into keeping personally identifiable information (PII) out of the state longitudinal data systems.  Records can be matched by identifying overlapping data.

With the ability to match data enabling the identification of individuals it is reasonable to think this data may find its way into the hands of data brokers and database marketers like Acxiom Corporation who may mine, analyze, refine, and sell the data.  While we may laugh at the Ordering Pizza in 2015 video, it hits real close to reality.

Eventually, whether for sport, competition, or profit, hackers will compromise the state longitudinal data systems.  Perhaps they already have been exploiting these systems and the public and parents are never informed it is taking place.  Below is a notice that I have written and which I believe should be provided to parents and all of the media.  For obvious reasons it never will.

We have discovered that our state longitudinal data system servers were attacked, resulting in a security breach. The hackers were able to access information on all students, parents and teachers in the state. Our team has worked to secure the state longitudinal data system against this type of attack from recurring.

Please understand that we are under no obligation to inform you that sensitive data about the students, parents, and teachers in the state has been accessed and copied by unauthorized and unknown individuals.  Since our data system contains no personally identifiable information you should comfortably know we assume no liability for any damages resulting from the hacker’s ability to personally identify individuals by matching overlapping information with other database information for which we have no control.

We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. Should you find the consequences of this security breach to be devastating to your life, we suggest you consider assuming another identity and start a new life.  Should you wish to exercise this option, for a fee we can assist you in this effort.  We take the security of our data seriously and can assure you we are taking measures to protect the system from this kind of breach until it happens again, at which time we will simply send you another message similar to this one reassuring you there is nothing to be concerned about.

J.R. Wilson is a parent and an education advocate with 25+ years experience in public education as an elementary teacher, curriculum consultant, staff development coordinator, and principal.

This article was originally published August 27, 2012 on EducationNews.com at

http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/jr-wilson-parents-need-to-know-about-student-data-privacy/ and is republished here with permission from the author.

References

A Blueprint for Reform The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, United States Department of Education, March 2010

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf

A Statement of Common Purpose:  Chief State School Officers and State Higher Education Executives Promote the Voluntary Adoption of a Model of Common Data Standards

http://www.pesc.org/library/docs/Common%20Data%20Standards/1-CDS-StatementofPurpose.pdf

“America COMPETES Act’’ or the ‘‘America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act” of 2007

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-110s761es/pdf/BILLS-110s761es.pdf

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ5/pdf/PLAW-111publ5.pdf

CEDARS:  Comprehensive Education Data and Research System

http://www.k12.wa.us/CEDARS/default.aspx

Confusing Evidence and Politics, Jay P. Greene’s Blog

http://jaypgreene.com/2012/08/13/confusing-evidence-and-politics/

Data for Action 2011 Empower with Data, Data Quality Campaign

http://dataqualitycampaign.org/files/DFA2011%20Annual%20Report.pdf

 

Data Cleaning: Problems and Current Approaches

http://wwwiti.cs.uni-magdeburg.de/iti_db/lehre/dw/paper/data_cleaning.pdf

Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (P.L. 89-10)

Page 49 of Public Law 89-10  April 11, 1965

http://www.nctic1p.org/files/40646763.pdf

Goals 2000: Educate America Act (P.L. 103-227) MAR. 31, 1994

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-103hr1804enr/pdf/BILLS-103hr1804enr.pdf

Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-103hr6enr/pdf/BILLS-103hr6enr.pdf

Leveraging Federal Funding for Longitudinal Data Systems – A Roadmap for States

http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/resources/fedfunding/

Project ALDER:  Advancing Longitudinal Data for Educational Reform

http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=3414

PUBLIC LAW 107–110—JAN. 8, 2002, An Act To close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ110/pdf/PLAW-107publ110.pdf

Race to the Top

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/fact-sheet-race-top

You for Sale: Mapping, and Sharing, the Consumer Genome

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/technology/acxiom-the-quiet-giant-of-consumer-database-marketing.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&hp

Select Legislative and Program Encouragement and Requirements for State Longitudinal Data Systems

There has been a push for these longitudinal data systems for many years.  The 1965 Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (P.L. 89-10) in Section 503 (a) on page 49 says:

(2) providing support or services for the comprehensive and compatible recording, collecting, processing, analyzing, interpreting, storing, retrieving, and reporting of State and local educational data, including the use of automated data systems;

The Goals 2000: Educate America Act in 1994 says:

(d) DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM.—In the development and design of a system to provide data on graduation or completion rates, job placement rates from occupationally specific programs, licensing rates, and awards of high school graduate equivalency diplomas (GED), each State board for higher education shall develop a data collection system the results of which can be integrated into the occupational information system developed under this section.

Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994, which was a reauthorization of ESEA, says:

(v) provides for the collection of data on the achievement and assessment results of students disaggregated by gender, major ethnic or racial groups, limited English proficiency status, migrant students, and by children with disabilities as compared to other students, and by economically disadvantaged students as compared to students who are not economically disadvantaged;

and

(1) INGENERAL.—The Secretary may collect such data, as necessary, at the State, local, and school levels and conduct studies and evaluations, including national studies and evaluations, to assess on an ongoing basis the effectiveness of programs under this title and to report on such effectiveness on a periodic basis.

PUBLIC LAW 107–110—JAN. 8, 2002, An Act To close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind says:

B) USE OF ASSESSMENTS.—Each State educational agency may incorporate the data from the assessments under this paragraph into a State-developed longitudinal data system that links student test scores, length of enrollment, and graduation records over time.

 

‘‘(D) DATA.—A local educational agency or school shall only include in its annual local educational agency report card data that are sufficient to yield statistically reliable information, as determined by the State, and that do not reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student.

 

SEC. 9531. PROHIBITION ON NATIONWIDE DATABASE.

‘‘Nothing in this Act (other than section 1308(b)) shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this Act. 20 USC 7911.

“America COMPETES Act’’ or the ‘‘America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act” of 2007

(2) GRANTS FOR STATE WIDE P–16 EDUCATION DATA SYSTEMS.—

 (A) ESTABLISHMENT OF SYSTEM.—Each State that receives a grant under subsection (c)(2) shall establish a statewide P–16 education longitudinal data system that— (i) provides each student, upon enrollment in a public elementary school or secondary school in the State, with a unique identifier, such as a bar code, that— (I) does not permit a student to be individually identified by users of the system; and (II) is retained throughout the student’s enrollment in P–16 education in the State; and (ii) meets the requirements of sub-paragraphs (B) through (E).

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

(3) IMPROVING COLLECTION AND USE OF DATA.—The State will establish a longitudinal data system that includes the elements described in section 6401(e)(2)(D) of the America COMPETES Act (20 U.S.C. 9871).

 

(D) REQUIRED ELEMENTS OF A STATE WIDE P16 EDUCATION DATA SYSTEM.—The State shall ensure that the statewide P–16 education data system includes the following elements: (i) PRESCHOOL THROUGH GRADE 12 EDUCATION AND POST SECONDARY EDUCATION.—With respect to preschool through grade 12 education and postsecondary education— (I) a unique statewide student identifier that does not permit a student to be individually identified by users of the system; (II) student-level enrollment, demographic, and program participation information; (III) student-level information about the points at which students exit, transfer in, transfer out, drop out, or complete P–16 education programs; (IV) the capacity to communicate with higher education data systems; and  (V) a State data audit system assessing data quality, validity, and reliability. (ii) PRESCHOOLTHROUGHGRADE12 EDUCATION.—With respect to preschool through grade 12 education— (I) yearly test records of individual students with respect to assessments under section 1111(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)); (II) information on students not tested by grade and subject; (III) a teacher identifier system with the ability to match teachers to students; (IV) student-level transcript information, including information on courses completed and grades earned; and (V) student-level college readiness test scores.

The Race to the Top emphasized:

Supporting data systems that inform decisions and improve instruction, by fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system, assessing and using data to drive instruction, and making data more accessible to key stakeholders.

A Blueprint for Reform The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, United States Department of Education, March 2010

To foster public accountability for results and help focus improvement and support efforts, states must have data systems in place to gather information that is critical to determining how schools and districts are progressing in preparing students to graduate from high school college- and career-ready. States and districts will collect and make public data relating to student academic achievement and growth in English language arts and mathematics, student academic achievement in science, and if states choose, student academic achievement and growth in other subjects, such as history. At the high school level, this data will also include graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and rates of college enrollment without need for remediation. All of these data must be disaggregated by race, gender, ethnicity, disability status, English Learner status, and family income. States and districts also will collect other key information about teaching and learning conditions, including information on school climate such as student, teacher and school leader attendance; disciplinary incidents; or student, parent, or school staff surveys about their school experience.

 

State-level data systems that link information on teacher and principal preparation programs to the job placement, student growth, and retention outcomes of their graduates.

Data Quality Campaign

10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems

  • A unique statewide student identifier that connects student data across key databases across years
  • Student-level enrollment, demographic, and program participation information
  • The ability to match individual students’ test records from year to year to measure academic growth
  • Information on untested students and the reasons they were not tested
  • A teacher identifier system with the ability to match teachers to students
  • Student-level transcript information, including information on courses completed and grades earned
  • Student-level college readiness test scores
  • Student-level graduation and dropout data
  • The ability to match student records between the preK-12 and higher education systems
  •    A state data audit system assessing data quality, validity and reliability

10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use

  • Link state K-12 educational data systems with early learning, postsecondary education, workforce, social services and other critical agencies
  • Create stable, sustained support for robust state longitudinal data systems
  • Develop governance structures to guide data collection, sharing, and use
  • Build state data repositories (e.g., data warehouses) that integrate student, staff, financial, and facility data
  • Implement systems to provide all stakeholders with timely access to the information they need while protecting student privacy
  • Create progress reports with individual student data that provide information educators, parents, and students can use to improve student performance
  • Create reports that include longitudinal statistics on school systems and groups of students to guide school-, district-, and state-level improvement efforts
  • Develop a purposeful research agenda and collaborate with universities, researchers, and intermediary groups to explore the data for useful information
  • Implement policies and promote practices, including professional development and credentialing, to ensure educators know how to access, analyze, and use data appropriately
  •   Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data and ensure that all key stakeholders, including state policymakers, know how to access, analyze, and use the information

Data for Action 2011 Empower with Data, Data Quality Campaign

http://dataqualitycampaign.org/files/DFA2011%20Annual%20Report.pdf

States make gains in building data systems

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/02/21/states-make-gains-in-building-data-systems/

%d bloggers like this: