New Hampshire Bill Threatens Children’s Personal Privacy Rights

The passage of New Hampshire’s SB 267 will threaten your chid’s personal privacy rights.

New Hampshire students have a unique pupil identifier assigned to them to protect their personal indentity.  Their UPI is used when they take the State Standardized Assessment.  This prevents testing companies from using or sharing their personal information.  The protections that have been put in place to protect children are now at risk of being removed for convenience purposes. 

New Hampshire students will be taking the State Standardized Assessments this spring.  Many parents have refused the standardized tests for their children, but now there may be even a better reason to refuse these tests.  

SB 267 would give testing vendors the student’s name, date of birth, student ID, and the ability to “analyze” the data. If that isn’t bad enough, SB 267 gives exemptions for data sharing and, removes the requirement for the testing vendor to destroy data when it’s no longer needed. SB 267 also leaves out parental consent or recourse. Not only does this violate a child’s 4th Amendment rights, but their civil rights of privacy and personal freedom. Nothing in SB 267 includes language protecting the diagnostic portions of assessment and the data thereof.

As of right now, all states, as well as all the laws connected to and including Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), function on the GUTTED version of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act FEPA is also a massive data collection system coming out of the federal level. SB 267 takes NONE of this into consideration from the language, as written. 

There has been bi-partisan support in New Hampshire for privacy protections. This was illustrated recently by the decisive passage of the privacy amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution. Even before that constitutional amendment was passed, our state had established such a reputation that the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy ranked New Hampshire as one of the best states in the country in terms of protecting the privacy of students. Unfortunately, SB 267 would take us in the wrong direction.

When Massachusetts administered the MCAS several years ago, all test questions were made public after the assessment was completed.  This gave everyone the opportunity to make sure the questions asked were of the quality they expected.  Professors at area colleges could look through the questions and make sure they were free from bias and errors.  This information is not available to the public using the current standardized assessments in New Hampshire.  A lack of transparency on test questions alone should have legislators thinking twice about providing the testing company with our students’ personal information. 

11th grade students are required to take the SAT as the standardized assessment. But as you can see from this article from studentprivacymatters.org, they claim that the College Board, “did not deny that they sell students’ personal data – or in their words, “license” the data for a fee to institutions, for-profit corporations and the military.”  In addition to selling the data, “….you can see that this script for proctors is written in the most ambiguous way possible, with voluntary questions mixed in with required ones, and no clear indication which is which or that much of this personal data will be shared with third parties for a fee.”  That data includes their social security number, which is considered highly sensitive. 

They go on to say, “How the College Board gets away with this, year after year, is really a scandal — especially since all the new state laws have been passed banning the selling of student data.  Perhaps they are relying on the distinction without a difference of “licensing” the data vs selling it.”

Dr. Peg Luksik has referenced to standardized assessments used in the past, the Educational Quality Assessment (EQA), and how the internal documents said, “we are testing and scoring for the child’s threshold for behavior change without protest.”  When past standardized assessments have included questions that do not test academic knowledge, but instead attempt to change the students’ values, attitudes and beliefs, some parents will be concerned about any attempts to provide the testing company with their personal information. 

Since these new assessments are adaptive, meaning students will be answering different questions based upon the answers they provide, Dr. Luksik warns about the ability to manipulate the outcome.  
By allowing testing companies to access our children’s personal information SB267 will cement into law their ability to gain access to their personal information without parental knowledge or consent. 

Dr. Luksik explains in this short video why that is dangerous to our children:

https://vimeo.com/325303645

There is still time to contact New Hampshire Senators and Representatives and ask them to vote NO on SB267.