Feds Using Schools to Track Kids & Families

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Back in 1992 under George H.W. Bush and Lamar Alexander’s AMERICA 2000 restructuring of public education, a national system to track individual students, including their infant vaccine records, grades, teacher evaluations, test scores, etc. was specified, probably based on the Florida model that was initiated in 1988.   It was called the Speede Express.  It has continued to grow over the years.  This new story clarifies just how much information the Feds now require schools  to provide.

Buried within the enormous 2009 stimulus bill were provisions encouraging states to develop data systems for collecting copious information on public-school kids. To qualify for stimulus money, states had to agree to build such systems according to federally dictated standards. So all 50 states either now maintain or are capable of maintaining extensive databases on public-school students.
The administration wants this data to include much more than name, address and test scores. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status. In its view, public schools offer a golden opportunity to mine reams of data from a captive audience.
The department’s eagerness to get control of all this information is almost palpable. But current federal law prohibits a nationwide student database and strictly limits disclosure of a student’s personal information. So the department has determined that it can overcome the legal obstacles by simply bypassing Congress and essentially rewriting the federal privacy statute.
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5 responses to “Feds Using Schools to Track Kids & Families

  1. Although I can’t stand the thought of Big Brother intruding into our personal lives, I must say this first. I’m an amateur genealogist. I’ve done it for years to dig up my family roots. I can find voter registration cards, SSN information, census records, military service records, etc. All that was kept on file somewhere within the States or Territories that they lived. Now, it all comes together under public view. Has anything really changed except for the electronics???

  2. This post is so timely, and an answer to my prayers. I recently read every word of the 71-page draft recommendations of the California Community Colleges Task Force on Student Success, dated September 30, 2011, that certain community college committee members received. Every paragraph held a new horror, and I wanted to share it, but couldn’t think of a way to (a) consolidate the information, or (b) find the right audience. Oh ye of little faith (that’s me): ASK, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE! While I take issue with MANY other elements regarding the proposed “student success” program and its implementation, this selection focuses upon long-term student tracking (is this the dreaded “permanent record” we’d all been threatened with?!). However, if there is interest, I would be happy to share more.
    The following is only a tiny smidge of the whole document, but I think the readers of FoTM will see the relevance to the original post. The first paragraph is the most alarming; however, get a load of the “Required for Implementation” section…they want to track the students from K-20, and also future wage data to boot!
    Recommendation 7.4
    The state of California should develop and support a longitudinal student record system to monitor student progress from elementary through postsecondary education and into the workplace.
    Linked student level data is critically needed to determine what is working and what is not working to improve student achievement. Under the present system, educational records are housed at each of the segments (CCC, CDE, CSU, UC) respective headquarters. While these institutions routinely share data for a variety of mandated reports and studies, data has not been aggregated centrally or leveraged to improve student instruction or develop centralized student support systems.
    The community colleges need system-wide student level data that can link to the other higher education segments, K-12, and the workforce in order to analyze progress and identify, improve, and implement strategies that are effective at improving student outcomes. This need has increased as the state budget crisis has led to significant cuts in funding for public education. The CCC needs information on what is working and what is not in order to set funding priorities in a way that puts students’ needs first.
    Required for Implementation
    · Secure a commitment from the education segments for the development of a longitudinal K-20/wage datawarehouse and the creation of an educational research resource.
    (Note: emphasis not in original)

  3. Under the HIPPA laws governing medical privacy, disclosing ANY medical information is a federal offense. Have you ever dealt with a hospital or clinic on behalf of a relative or friend? They will disclose NOTHING without written consent of the patient.
    The Speede Express contains teacher comments, counselor and school psychologist evaluations; with medical clinics on school sites, all that information is under the purview of school personnel.
    My forays into genealogy have only gleaned fairly dry facts that are a matter of public record, not intimate information about the individuals that revealed their personalities, frailties, and interactions with others. It takes invasion of privacy to a whole other level.

    • LTG…I worked in the hospital setting for many years. I was a Respiratory Therapist and yes…HIPPA was taken quite seriously as well as confidentiality even between colleagues, You report on only what they need to know and nothing more.
      But those with the right “credentials” could find out anything they want.
      I retired in late 2005 due to my health. If it was possible then, I would hate to see how much more so now.

      • I recently had to request a copy of a radiology report. I tried to request over the phone; but, was told that due to HIPPA, the request must be made on their form with a signature documenting it’s from the actual patient.


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