A new regulation proposed by the Department of Education (DOE) will transfer student data from schools to state agencies.

In order to do this, the regulation will revise key parts of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which was formed to “protect privacy, security, and confidentiality of student data,” according to the Electronics Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

Of course, this has already been going on to a degree. With high school students, a provision in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) “requires school districts to provide the personal, private information of students to military recruiters at the risk of losing scarce Federal dollars,” according to a June 24, 2005 Congressional Record.

The current legislation is part of the 2009 Data Quality Campaign that set out to improve student achievement. It came along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which allowed states to “further build and promote” statewide data systems to “improve student achievement and success across the knowledge supply chain.”

This basically required schools to disclose student data in order to get federal funding. Data ranges from enrollment information to demographical information.

According to the June 24, 2009 project statement, it establishes data systems from pre-shool to college that:

  • Track progress and foster continuous improvement”;
  • Help identify if Congress intends states to gather and use information about the extent to which “students transition successfully from secondary school to postsecondary education, including whether students enroll in remedial coursework”; and
  • Use the data in the system to otherwise inform education policy and practice in order to better align state academic content standards, and curricula, with the demands of postsecondary education, the 21st century workforce, and the Armed Forces.”

According to EPIC, “The student information will be compiled into large databases and used to track and analyze student’s progress through the education system. The Department is accepting comments on the proposed regulations. Deadline for comment is May 23, 2011.”

Photo credit: By Nyttend (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of TechZwn.com. He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

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