One of the major concerns expressed by parents with respect to the Common Core learning curriculum is the safety of student data.
In order to address that concern, the Liverpool Central School District, along with districts
Pursuant to Education Law Section 2-d and the Common Core Implementation Reform Act, the Liverpool Central School District has adopted a Parents Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security. The bill states:
A student’s personally identifiable information cannot be sold or released for any commercial purposes.
Parents have the right to inspect and review the complete contents of their child’s education record.
State and federal laws protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information, and safeguards associated with industry standards and best practices, including but not limited to, encryption, firewalls, and password protection, must be in place when data is stored or transferred.
A complete list of all student data elements collected by the state will be available for public review both online and via regular mail from the State Education Department. The website and mailing addresses will be listed here when they are made available.
Parents have the right to have complaints about possible breaches of student data addressed. N.Y. Education Law § 2-d(3)(b). To file a complaint, contact Anthony Davis, Director of Staff Services for the Liverpool Central School District, by e-mail (TDavis@liverpool.k12.ny.us), by mail (195 Blackberry Road, Liverpool, NY 13090) or by phone (622-7130).
statewide, has implemented a Parents Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security.
According to LCSD Superintendent Mark Potter, the concerns rose from a contract the New York State Education Department had entered into with InBloom, a nonprofit that manages student data to help districts determine student placements, among other considerations. Many parents expressed concern about what InBloom would do with that data, worrying that it might be sold or otherwise disseminated by the company to target students and families. As a result, New York, along with five other states, abandoned its agreement with the company.
“When [State] Sen. [John] Flanagan, [a Republican representing the second state senate district], and his education committee looked into the criticisms and frustrations expressed through the state push-back from parents, it was clear that particular data being collected would be provided to the vendor, with little reassurance that it was protected,” Potter said. As a result, the NYSED “passed a mandate that required all school districts must provide parents with a plain-language document that clearly identifies their rights via the Parents Bill of Rights.”
Liverpool crafted its document with the help of its legal counsel, Bond, Schoeneck and King, and posted it to its website, as required by state law. The document is designed to reassure parents that student data collected through state testing will only be used for assessment purposes and will not be widely disseminated.
“There have been considerable concerns raised specific to data security, and realistically what the data is needed for. Many people, including school officials, feel the collection of data — specifically for testing and assessment purposes — has a realistic reason, especially for establishing specific student cohort groups,” Potter said. “But, there is very little trust and assurance that the data — even if it is needed for assessment purposes — is protected and won’t end up in the hands of another vendor outside of the expressed purpose.”
The new Parents Bill of Rights is meant to ensure that the data will only be used in an appropriate manner.
“We use [testing data] to assist in grouping students for interventions, for identification for services and for general demographic data, especially for grants,” Potter said. “We have used a system called the Data Warehouse for several years; within this system, we upload data including name, add any information specific to parents outside of address/relationship to their child. Otherwise, it’s limited to the above data.”
To view the Parents Bill of Rights, see sidebar or visit liverpool.k12.ny.us.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.