Missouri Coalition Against Common Core

Working to regain local control of education in Missouri.

Data Collection

The Data Quality Campaign wants her data. DQC is a nonprofit advocacy organization that works to improve student achievement through effective data use. Achieve, Inc, the Alliance for Excellent Education, Council of Chief State School Officers, The Education Trust, National Center for Educational Accountability, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Schools Interoperability Framework Association, Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services, State Higher Education Executive Officers are all founding members. The campaign is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and managed by the National Center for Educational Accountability.

These are the ten essential elements of the longitudinal data system that they want to see in every state in America. They make no attempt to hide that they want individual student data, not aggregate data to look at trends. This is about managing a workforce by managing individual student outcomes.

1. A unique statewide student identifier

2. Student-level enrollment, demographic and program participation information

3. The ability to match individual students' test records from year to year to measure academic growth

4. Information on untested students

5. A teacher identification system with the ability to match teachers to students

6. Student-level transcript information, including information on courses complete and grades earned

7. Student-level college readiness test scores

8. Student-level graduation and dropout data

9. The ability to match student records between the Pre-K and post-secondary systems

10. A state audit system assessing data quality, validity and reliability.


Whenever you see references to the state longitudinal data system or DQC, understand that this is what they are working towards.

For a quick overview of the state of data collection in this country, check out Cheri Kiesecker's Interactive Data Privacy Presentation

More helpful links:

Questions to ask your school about data collection

template letter created by the Parent Coalition for Student Data Privacy-to request your child's data is the state data base (SLDS). Send SLDS data requests to your district, they will verify you are the parent and forward your request to the state.

Spying on Students   EFF- explains online data collection. Has survey for parents as to what online devices, curriculum your school uses (EFF filed FTC suit against Google for tracking students)

The astonishing amount of data being collected about your children
 
Student data collection in out of control

THE "MY DATA BUTTON" APP IS BEING PROMOTED TO ALLOW STUDENTS TO UPLOAD AND SHARE THEIR OWN DATA

COGS IN THE MACHINE: Big Data, Common Core, and National Testing

Hidden computer algorithms in schools
 
Grooming Students for a Lifetime of Surveillance
 
The business of data badging and predicting children's futures
 
Privacy pitfalls as education apps spread haphazardly. Before you download that app.
 
Data as the new currency

Knewton, an online classroom application, video of presentation at the White House Datapalooza.  Knewton collects 5-10 million data per day per child

Federal Data Dictionary

Data Elements Collected in Data Collection System
 
These examples from Colorado are provided because the same general thing is happening in many states. Look for key words and concepts in your own state.
Colorado Data Dictionary
Colorado Dept. of Education Data Privacy Resources  CDE Contracts that share children's personally identifiable information  (Get a glimpse of pii data leaving the state LDS)
 
Colorado Dept of Education GOLDEN RECORD OF DATA The Colorado Department of Education creates a "single golden record" of personally identifiable data on every student in Colorado. This video explains how the student's personal information is shared with Dept. of Corrections, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Social Services,  and Higher Education (Colleges).
 
Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools,  Joel Reidenberg, Center for Law and Information Policy
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html
 
Privacy Toolkit for educators, board members and parents- From Fordham Center for Law and Information Policy

Student Privacy Bill of Rights  Electronic Information Privacy Center

There are 3 Federal laws meant to protect children's privacy...but...
COPPA  (largely doesn't apply to schools or non-profits)
PPRA   (applies to federally funded surveys, often overlooked)
FERPA  (weakened in 2008, 2011 to allow pii data sharing without parent consent for "educational purpose". FERPA has no penalty, no private right of action)

This fact sheet was researched and posted at What Is Common Core. It is a wonderful resource about what data is collected, where and why.

  • How does Common Core relate to the federal and corporate data collection movement?
 Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss at the Dept. of Education has been publicly quoted saying that “data-mashing” is a good idea.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gives speeches calling for ”more robust data.” And at the recent White House Datapalooza, the CEO of eScholar stated that without Common Core tests being “the glue” for open data, this data movement would be impossible.

  • Are the State Longitudinal Data Systems accessible by the federal government?  Yes.
The SLDS grant explains that the SIF (state interoperability framework) must provide interoperability from LEA to LEA, from LEA to Postsecondary, from LEA to USOE, and from USOE to the EdFacts Data Exchange.  The EdFacts Data Initiative is a “centralized portal through which states submit data to the Department of Education.”

The P-20 workforce council exists inside states to track citizens starting in preschool, and to “forge organizational and technical bonds and to build the data system needed to make informed decisions” for stakeholders both in and outside Utah. — http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm


  • Is personally identifiable student information gathered, or only aggregate group data?  Personal, identifiable, individual data is collected.
The MO DESE website on the Missouri Student Information System (MOSIS) says "MOSIS Phase III which began in September of 2006 is to transition the current Core Data collection system from an aggregate student data collection to a student level data collection system

This presentation on MOSIS shows on the second slide the path from your school to the US Dept of Ed.
 
  • Is the collected private student data accessible to agencies beyond than state education agency?  Yes:
There are state data alliances that connect agencies.  The Data Quality Campaign states: “states must ensure that as they build and enhance state K–12 longitudinal data systems, they also continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce (P–20/workforce) and with other critical agencies, such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”

  • What data will be collected?  According to the new FERPA regulations, pretty much anything.  Social security numbers, psychometric and biometric information (see pg. 4 and 6) are not off the table.   According to the National Data Collection model, over 400  points.  Jenni White (Oklahoma ROPE) mentioned another federal model that asks for thousands of data points.

The types of information that the Department will collect includes biometric information (DNA, fingerprints, iris patterns) and parental income, nicknames, medical information, extracurricular information, and much more. See page 4 at  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf and see http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary

  • Are teachers also to be studied like guinea pigs, along with students? Yes.
The Common Core of Data (CCD) is another federal program of data collection that studies TEACHERS as well as students.  It calls itself  “a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.”  http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/

The system also allows the governments to track, steer and even to punish teachers, students and citizens more easily. http://cte.ed.gov/docs/NSWG/Workforce_Data_Brief.pdf

  • How does this affect parents?
Data linking changes being made in regulations and policies make former privacy protection policies meaningless. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sued the Dept. of Education, under the Administrative Procedure Act, arguing that the Dept. of Ed’s regulations that changed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in Dec. 2011 exceeded the Department of Education’s authority and are contrary to law. http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html
The Federal Register outlines, on page 51, that it is not now a necessity for a school to get student or parental consent any longer before sharing personally identifiable information; that has been reduced to the level of optional.

“It is a best practice to keep the public informed when you disclose personally identifiable information from education records.”  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf


Dec. 2011 regulations, which the Dept. of Education made without Congressional approval and for which they are now being sued by EPIC, literally loosen, rather than strengthen, parental consent rules and other rules.  http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=5aa4af34-8e67-4f42-8e6b-fe801c512c7a

The Federal Register of December 2011 outlines the Dept. of Education’s new, Congressionally un-approved regulations, that decrease parental involvement and increase the number of agencies that have access to private student data: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf (See page 52-57)

Although the Federal Register describes countless agencies, programs and “authorities” that may access personally identifiable student information, it uses permissive rather than mandatory language.  The obligatory language comes up in the case of the Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Education and the states’ testing consortium http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

Effectively, there is no privacy regulation governing schools anymore, on the federal level.  Khalia Barnes, a lawyer at EPIC disclosed that these privacy intrusions affect not only children, but anyone who ever attended any college or university (that archives records, unless it is a privately funded university.)


  • Who can access collected data?
The National Data Collection Model (the federal request for what states ought to be collecting) represents 350 data points schools should collect and “it is a comprehensive, non-proprietary inventory… that can be used by schools, LEAs, states, vendors, and researchers”.  Vendors are already using this.

  • How can we get free of this system?
Jenni White of ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) states that the only way to get free of this federal data collection invasion is to put political pressure on our governors to give that ARRA money back.  As long as we keep it, we are in data collection chains by the federal government; also, our increasing buy-in to common core exacerbates the educational tech scam on the corporate side. Dept. of Education infringements upon state law and freedom are explained in the white paper by Jenni White entitled “Analysis of Recent Education Reforms and the Resulting Impact on Student Privacy”  –  http://www.scribd.com/doc/94149078/An-Analysis-of-Recent-Education-Reforms-and-the-Resulting-Impact-on-Student-Privacy

  • Why did the Dept. of Ed redefine FERPA’s meaning of the term “educational agency” to include virtually any agency and redefine “authorized representative” to mean virtually anyone, even a “school volunteer?

When FERPA is weak, linking of data allows easy access to data, both technologically and in terms of legal policy.  It also trumps other laws, such as HIPPA.  For example, as both Gary Thompson and Jenni White have pointed out, the new, weak FERPA law takes precedence over HIPPA (patient privacy) when medical or psychological services are provided in schools or when educational services are provided in jails.


In that document, states are obligated to share data with the federal government “on an ongoing basis,” to give status reports, phone conferences and other information, and must synchronize tests “across consortia”. This triangulation nationalizes the testing system and puts the federal government in the middle of the data collecting program.


For understanding of the motivation of the federal government, read some of US Dept. of Education Arne Duncan’s or Obama’s speeches that show the passion with which the federal agency seeks access to data to control teachers and educational decisions. http://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/06/06082009.pdf

  • Why did the Dept. of Ed need to alter FERPA regulations?

To match their data collection goals (stated in the Dept. of Ed cooperative agreement with testing consortia) which contracts with testing consortia to mandate triangulation of tests and collected data. This federal supervision is illegal under G.E.P.A. law and the 10th Amendment.   http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf


  • What else is at stake?
Sheila Kaplan has provided expert testimony about the student data collection, but has also said that an educational data monopoly is an issue, too.  She explains that a group exists, including Bing, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc., that assigns high or low attention to content and directs internet traffic.  So if code uses hashtags and common core aligned taxonomies, your education data will get traffic.  If not, it won’t.  If you are searching for any educational data it won’t come up unless it’s using that coded taxonomy.  This wrecks net neutrality and is, in her educated opinion, an anti-trust issue of the internet. She mentioned the CEDS, (common element data system) that is ending net neutrality.  She also finds appalling the Learning Registry, funded by the Department of Defense and the Department of Education, which is a place for teachers to advertise for common core aligned products– all using stimulus money.

A Parent's Guide To Student Data Privacy

A primer on Digital Literacy from the FERPA Sherpa.  SDP booklet

Today, students and parents must be aware of the digital landscape in which they operate, both in school and outside of school. We are all consumers of digital content in some ways, but the way we pay for that content, with our data, is not always obvious. Digital content is also widely being used in schools where your child can log into a website or use apps downloaded by the school onto a device. Giving children access to the internet without instruction on how to use it safely, is like giving them a loaded weapon and saying "Just be careful."  Parents must be part of the conversation with their children about how to operate safely in this landscape.

We call this booklet a primer because it is a good start for that conversation, but we advise parents to do more research on their own to really understand their rights to protect their child's privacy.
Whether you know it or not, you or your child's every move on the web is of interest to thousands of companies out there. Online behavior is valuable data, and companies are collecting it all the time. Online vendors have tags on web pages and apps that write out scripts, and these scripts write out cookies that send information back to the company about how you use the web.

The Free Ghostery Browser Extension lets you see just how many trackers are following you, and choose which ones to block. It offers tracker profiles so you can learn about the companies tracking you and make informed decisions.  Caveat Emptor. As even Ghostery must admit, if its free, you are the product.

NASBE Reports On Student Privacy Legislation

The National Association of State Boards of Education June 2015 Policy Update reported that in 2014, 180 bills were introduced in the various states to address student data privacy. Sixteen of those were passed.  Missouri HB1490 was included in that list though it only required that privacy measures be put in place and did not specify what those measures were. The language adopted was not provided by MCACC.

A September Student Privacy Symposium sponsored by the Future Privacy Forum, the Data Quality Campaign and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation acknowledged the intense national focus on student privacy but, offered no clear policy recommendations.  For now it is up to parents and school districts to apply scrutiny and transparency to data collection practices.




More information for parents from the FERPA Sherpa can be found here. This group places a little too much trust in government and corporations to be ethical actors in data collection, but the site does have some good basic information.