Congress Punts on Student Data Privacy in ESEA Reauthorization

privacyEducation Week in an article yesterday noted the absence of student data protection in the ESEA reauthorization conference report called the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Benjamin Harold writes:

Congress largely punted on student data privacy, declining to include in the ESEA reauthorization amendments that would have updated the country’s major federal student-data-privacy law or created a special committee to consider the best way forward on the issue. The changes there were included don’t represent any big shifts in policy, but do signal Congress’ attention to the issue.

That lack of tangible action will mean continued uncertainty for educators and ed-tech vendors alike…

…Every Student Succeeds does include language that specifies that states and districts can use federal Title II funds for “supporting and developing efforts to train teachers on the appropriate use of student data to ensure that individual student privacy is protected.”

Frankly this use of Title II funds doesn’t negate the student data mining that is ongoing so I really can’t give Congress much credit for this; especially when you have state-sanctioned and federally approved and financed Statewide Longitudinal Database Systems, as well as, students having all sorts of surveys being dropped on them.  Then you have most of the attention being focused on private sector student data collection as if it’s ok when government does it.