TRANSPARENCY AND THE MARKETPLACE FOR STUDENT DATA

Just came across this press release this morning.

FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL CENTER ON LAW AND INFORMATION POLICY (CLIP) STUDY REVEALS LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN COMMERCIAL MARKETPLACE FOR SALE AND EXCHANGE OF STUDENT DATA
Report Offers Policy Recommendations to Increase Transparency, Accessibility, and Choice

New York, NY (June 6, 2018) – The Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School (Fordham CLIP) has released its findings from a multi-year study on the commercial marketplace for the sale and exchange of student information.

Transparency and the Marketplace for Student Data sought to gain an understanding of the commercial marketplace for student data and the interaction with privacy law. Over several years, Fordham CLIP reviewed publicly-available sources, made public records requests to educational institutions, and collected marketing materials received by high school students

The study uncovered and documented an overall lack of transparency in the student information commercial marketplace and an absence of law to protect student information.

Key findings of the reporter include:

  • Parents and students are generally unable to determine how and why certain student lists were compiled or the basis for designating a student as associated with a particular attribute like race, religion, and purported interests.
  • It is difficult to ascertain sources for student data; large school districts claim they do not sell directory information except to the military and other educational institutions.
  • Data brokers operating in the student information marketplace frequently change names, merge and have affiliated relationships, making it difficult to identify student data brokers.
  • Despite all of this, student lists are commercially available for purchase on the basis of ethnicity, affluence, religion, lifestyle, awkwardness and even a perceived or predicted need for family planning services.

The findings also revealed that a profitable ecosystem for commercial student data exists, but a lack of transparency and accessibility to information remains.

Based then on the research and the deficiencies in existing law and regulation of the commercial marketplace for student data, Fordham CLIP makes the following policy recommendations:

  • The commercial marketplace for student information should not be a black market. Parents, students, and the general public should be able to reasonably know (i) the identities of student data brokers, (ii) what lists and selects they are selling, and (iii) where the data for student lists and selects derives. A model like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) should apply to compilation, sale, and use of student data once outside of schools and FERPA protections. If data brokers are selling information on students based on stereotypes, this should be transparent and subject to parental and public scrutiny.
  • Brokers of student data should be required to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of student data. Parents and emancipated students should be able to gain access to their student data and correct inaccuracies. Student data brokers should be obligated to notify purchasers and other downstream users when previously-transferred data is proven inaccurate and these data recipients should be required to correct the inaccuracy.
  • Parents and emancipated students should be able to opt out of uses of student data for commercial purposes unrelated to education or military recruitment.
  • When surveys are administered to students through schools, data practices should be transparent, students and families should be informed as to any commercial purposes of surveys before they are administered, and there should be compliance with other obligations under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).

N. Cameron Russell, Executive Director of Fordham Law School’s CLIP, and one of the co-authors of the study, said that Vermont’s recent passage of H.764 – the United States’ first legislation regulating commercial data brokers – is responsive to, and in part inspired by, problems identified in the Fordham CLIP study.

“I recently had the opportunity to testify before the Vermont House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development on the need for closer regulation and oversight of commercial data brokers, and the passage of H.764 requiring data brokers to register with the state as well as include specific information disclosures for brokers of student information underscores the need for an overhaul of the commercial student information marketplace, particularly increased transparency,” said Russell.

Joel Reidenberg, Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director of Fordham Law’s CLIP, says the passage of H.764 in Vermont is likely to have a national impact.

“The Vermont law is likely to become a national model and have a nationwide effect. Data brokers harvest personal information on a national scale and the Vermont registry requirement will result in increased national transparency for the identities and practices of these brokers,” said Reidenberg.

The full report is available here

The Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP) was founded to make significant contributions to the development of law and policy for the information economy and to teach the next generation of leaders. CLIP brings together scholars, the bar, the business community, technology experts, the policy community, students, and the public to address and assess policies and solutions for cutting-edge issues that affect the evolution of the information economy.

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    Contact: N. Cameron Russell
    212-930-8878 or nrussell2@law.fordham.edu

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Coalition Urges Congress to Protect Data & Psychological Privacy

Education Liberty Watch, American Principles Project, & Eagle Forum lead national coalition urging Congress to protect data & psychological privacy.

Washington, D.C. – This week Education Liberty Watch, American Principles Project (APP), and Eagle Forum, along with leaders from more than 100 organizations, both nationally and in 31 states, called on Congress to rewrite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In a letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee, these organizations strongly urged Congress to recognize that it is not the role or right of government to probe a child’s most personal and sensitive attributes, as well as to protect the property interest that citizens have in their personal data.
“General education and labor databases should not be collecting and storing sensitive, subjective social, emotional, psychological and behavioral data,” said Dr. Karen Effrem, a pediatrician, President of Education Liberty Watch, an education writer at APP’s news publication,  The National Pulse, and Director of Education for Eagle Forum. “Psychological data related to behavioral, mental health, or special education concerns should be gathered after informed consent and treated with the same care and confidentiality as medical data, with appropriate sharing with law enforcement as needed under current statutes. If this had been done in the Parkland situation, that horrific tragedy could have been avoided.”

“Personal data collection without consent is an affront to freedom,” said Emmett McGroarty, senior fellow at American Principles Project and co-author of the new book, Deconstructing the Administrative State: The Fight for Liberty. “The federal government has no right or authority to vacuum up mountains of personal data on its citizens without their consent, with only the vague intent to “help” them or others make decisions. This is especially true for children.”
The letter submitted five recommendations for the FERPA rewrite:
  1. Do whatever is possible to decrease the amount of data collected on students, especially social-emotional learning (SEL) data. Collection of such data should be eliminated or at the very least a) not collected without informed opt-in parental consent and b) be treated as medical data.
  2. Treat whatever mental health, social emotional, or behavioral data collected for special-education evaluations or any other related program, such as Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) or Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), as medical data that cannot be housed in longitudinal databases.
  3. Use aggregate rather than individual data to the greatest extent possible.
  4. Obtain parental consent if data collected for one purpose is to be repurposed or shared with another federal agency.
  5. Eliminate the current language in FERPA allowing predictive testing.
It is incredibly important to fix FERPA and protect student data and psychological privacy as we have seen on multiple occasions in the recent past:
The letter also received excellent coverage by Dr. Susan Berry at Breitbart.
Here is the  link to the full letter. Please use it to contact your members of Congress and congressional candidates. so that we may protect the privacy and minds of our children and our freedoms as Americans.
Please also help us continue this David vs. Goliath fight by making your most generous contribution HERE. Thank you!
The above press release is posted here with permission.
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Do You Trust This Computer?

This is a documentary video about Artificial Intelligence.  The video is very good and likely frightening for most people…  or it should be.  Couple Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the data being collected on everyone on our society, not just in our schools.  AI is no longer a thing of the future, it is here right now and being used in more ways than most of us imagine.

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The Data Have Landed

A friend sent me the graphic below the other day.  There was indication it was posted on the The Opt Out Florida Network.  I checked their website and didn’t find it there.  I did find it on their FaceBook page.  This is too good not to share.  Thanks to The Opt Out Florida Network and author Michael Rosen and illustrator Chris Riddell.

landed

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Indoctrination, a Hero Emerges, and a Code of Ethics

Indoctrination

The other day I came across an article called Stop Indoctrinating Our Children.  that struck a chord with me.  Having had a career in education, I know things have changed and I thought what I read in the article wasn’t right.  Whether you agree with everything in the article or not, I would venture to say you will probably find things that strike a chord with you as being wrong.  One may wonder whether the examples are exaggerated, fictional, or distorted by being taken out of context.  In the news recently there have been two examples of  teachers using their position for the purpose of influencing or indoctrinating students with regard to political and ideological positions and issues.

Almost as if on cue, yesterday a friend sent me a link to ‘America’s Never Been Great’: Student Records Teacher Saying Trump ‘MAGA’ Slogan Trying to Bring Back Segregation.

A Hero Emerges

 The above video is the same as the video on the linked article.  It does have a little more discussion at the end that is worth watching if you already watched the video in the article.

My heart goes out to the students, parents, community, and all others affected by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  This unfortunate incident has sparked some much needed discussion.  It has also spawned the schools being used for the purpose of influencing or indoctrinating students under the veil of paying respects for the victims and their families.  The needle has been cued up for the voice of our country’s youth to be heard.  Unfortunately, some of the voice that is being heard resembles disrespectful bad mouthing, making uncompromising demands, and profanity laced rants.  Maybe it is the media at play here capturing what can be sensationalized rather than capturing what I hope is more representative of our youth.

From a situation where a teacher is using their position to influence and indoctrinate, a hero emerges.  The gender of the word hero and its use here is another issue.  Hero is an acceptable form to use.  Josie Orihuela is a welcomed breath of fresh air.  She is a hero in my eyes.  I am confident there are lots more students like Josie across the country. I fear they may be intimidated and get overshadowed by others who may be more outspoken and capture attention with disrespectful bad mouthing, uncompromising demands, and profanity laced rants.  Good for Josie.  She helps restore some faith.  She would make a good spokesperson for the today’s youth.

Reading the article and watching the video featuring Josie, led me to another article, GA Teacher Assigns Students to Write Letters to Lawmakers Pushing for Gun Control.

The linked article and video presented above are the second recent example of  teachers using their position for the purpose of influencing or indoctrinating students with regard to political and ideological positions and issues.

Two separate and different incidents.  Two different teachers.  Maybe it is just a coincidence that both incidents took place at the same school.

I know things have changed since I started my career in education in the mid 70s.  The focus at that time was on providing students with an academic and knowledge based education.  Now, without an open discussion, it seems the purpose of education is for work force preparation with a strong side of indoctrination, or maybe it is the other way around.  Has it really reached the point that it is acceptable for teachers to use their position for the purpose of influencing or indoctrinating students with regard to political and ideological positions and issues?  Is this being promoted from somewhere up the food chain?  I would like to think not, but it is not unusual for me to be wrong.

Is it time for a Code of Ethics like the one presented below?  While I don’t recall such a written code from when I started my career, it seems to me there was a similar unwritten code that was understood.

The Code of Ethics below prohibits teachers from using their position for the purpose of influencing or indoctrinating students with regard to political and ideological positions and issues.  This Code of Ethics was found here.

Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility For Educators in K-12 Public Schools

Whereas the purpose of public education in America is to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process;

Whereas education in a democracy is best served by teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think;

Whereas our country is divided over many issues affecting its citizens;

Whereas it has been established through testimony at legislative hearings that many teachers in K-12 classrooms are abusing taxpayer resources and abusing their ability to speak to captive audiences of students in an attempt to indoctrinate or influence children to adopt specific political and ideological positions on issues of social and political controversy;

Whereas it has been established that some teacher training institutions, teacher licensing agencies, state education departments and professional teacher organizations have condoned this behavior under the guise of “teaching for social justice” and other sectarian doctrines;

Whereas time spent on political or ideological indoctrination takes time away from instruction in the academic subjects taught by public educational institutions including the foundational subjects of mathematics, science, English, history, and civics and prevents students from receiving the best possible public education as funded by the taxpayers of this state;

Whereas parents and taxpayers have a right to expect that taxpayer resources will be spent on education, not political or ideological indoctrination;

Therefore be it resolved that this state’s [board of education or other relevant regulating body] will promulgate clear regulations and enforcement mechanisms for appropriate professional and ethical behavior by teachers licensed to teach in this state; that these guidelines shall make it clear that teachers in taxpayer supported schools are forbidden to use their classrooms to try to engage in political, ideological, or religious advocacy.

At a minimum, these regulations shall provide that no teacher is permitted during class time or while otherwise operating within the scope of employment as a teacher in a public educational institution to do the following:

(1) Endorse, support, or oppose any candidate or nominee for public office or any elected or appointed official regardless of whether such official is a member of the local, state, or federal government;

(2) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or enacted legislation or regulation regardless whether such legislation or regulation is pending, proposed, or has been enacted at the local, state, or federal level;

(3) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or decided court case or judicial action regardless of whether such court case or judicial action is at the local, state, or federal level;

(4) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or executed executive action by an executive branch agency of the local, state, or federal level;

(5) Introduce into class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught;

(6) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the lawful access of military recruiters to campus;

(7) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the actions of state, local, or federal law enforcement;

(8) Advocate in a partisan manner for any side of a controversial issue, defined as an issue that is a point in electoral party platforms at the national, state or local level. To ensure that students have the resources to make up their own minds on such issues, teachers must provide them with materials supporting both sides of the controversy, and present those views in a fair-minded non-partisan manner. Teachers may express their opinions on these matters but only in such a manner that students understand that they are free to make up their own minds and to disagree with the teacher without incurring any penalty for doing so.

The regulations promulgated pursuant to this act shall apply to all teachers at public educational institutions, tenured and non-tenured. Moreover, the regulations shall contain clear guidelines for enforcement and provide penalties for violations, up to and including termination. The state’s [board of education or other relevant regulating body] shall provide written notification to all teachers, parents, and students of their respective rights and responsibilities under the regulations promulgated pursuant to this act and shall provide at least three hours of annual continuing teacher education instruction to teachers to instruct them regarding their responsibilities under said regulations.

Moreover, we call on the state’s professional teacher organizations and unions to voluntarily adopt an educators’ code of ethics and professional responsibility that incorporates the above principles and specifically prohibits teachers in K-12 schools from using the classroom for political indoctrination.

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Telemedicine in the Schools: A Doc in the Box

This gallery contains 2 photos.

  Wednesday’s Politico Morning Education provided some information that caught my attention.  Here it is: USING TELEMEDICINE TO SCREEN FOR KIDS ‘ABOUT TO BLOW’: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Tedd Mitchell shared glowing reviews of a telemedicine-based violence prevention … Continue reading

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Give Us Your Babies!

Gosh,  it is hard to figure out where to start with this one so bear (not bare, unless you are an exhibitionist) with me. Some folks are familiar with Marc Tucker’s Dear Hillary Letter where he laid out a lengthy … Continue reading

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