Apr 182010
 
 April 18, 2010  Featured News, Youth & Schools

Chris Casteel reports:

It’s not just grades and test scores anymore. It’s educational data.

And it comes in many varieties to help educators, students and parents measure academic growth and achievement in the nation’s schools.

[…]

Joel R. Reidenberg, a law professor at Fordham University and a former local school board member in New Jersey, isn’t as enthusiastic as educators about the move to collect more data about students.

After being alarmed at the kinds of information being collected by the state of New Jersey, Reidenberg helped direct a national study on what kind of information states were “warehousing” on kids.

He told the panel that many states were collecting far more information than was mandated by the No Child Left Behind law.

Nearly a third were collecting Social Security numbers; 22 percent were recording student pregnancies, and some were even tracking the birth weight of the babies; some were collecting medical test results and mental health records; and some were tracking juvenile criminal records, even though they aren’t public and are often expunged.

Read more on NewsOK.

In the absence of clear federal mandates as to data security, allowing schools to collect and retain such information is an invitation to a privacy disaster. Schools are less likely than other sectors to invest in good IT and security, and this type of data collection is just, frankly, scary. Note that even though they are discussing medical/health information, such information is not protected under HIPAA because the information is considered part of the student’s educational records, and hence, under FERPA. And no, you won’t see the Department of Education fining or penalizing any school for data breaches under FERPA, and no, individuals who might have their data exposed have no individual cause of action (lawsuit) available under FERPA.

Thanks to the reader who sent me this link.

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