DALLAS, Texas — Breitbart Texas has learned that a new “Student Privacy Protection Request Form” has been released by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national non-profit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The “data-mining” opt-out form was designed to protect students from Big Data’s chokehold on the classroom. It was crafted with the Common Core states in mind; however, it is relevant to non-Common Core states, like Texas, who are still tied to Fed Led Ed’s reporting and database systems.
In a news release issued by the law firm it explains, “These state databases, often referred to as P-20 systems, like Common Core are tied to federal funding, through No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top waivers, and in some instances can contain over 400 individual data points per student including health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status, blood types, likes and dislikes and homework completion. The data is then available to numerous public agencies. Despite federal student privacy protections guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, (FERPA) the administration is paving the way for private entities to buy the data while the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging the shift from aggregate data collection to individual student data collection.”
These data-points are compiled though the longitudinal database system with little recourse. As Breitbart News reported, this data is off-limits to parents. “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was recently gutted to allow almost unlimited data-sharing, without parental consent,” American Principles Project (APP) senior fellow Jane Robbins shared in a recent interview with Breitbart Texas.
In May, the Pioneer Institute released the white paper “Cogs in the Machine: Big Data, Common Core, and National Testing” authored by APP Education Director Emmett McGroarty, Robbins, and the Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman. It examines these very issues and the nature behind data-tracking, privacy rights and opting out from the continued federal government push “with private entities to design and encourage states to participate in, in order to increase the collection and sharing of student data, while relaxing privacy protections.”
The authors also urged “parents to ask what kinds of data are being collected on digital-learning platforms and whether the software will record data about their children’s behaviors and attitudes rather than just academic knowledge.” It is suggested that if parents object to this data-collection, they should opt out.
The TMLC generated opt-out allows parents to refuse to share their child information with the federal government, as well as outside agencies and contractors. Information which parents can opt-out of sharing ranges from test scores and religious and political beliefs, to biographic, biometric, and psychometric data, such as fingerprints, DNA and information related to children’s personality and aptitude,” the release also stated.
The form was designed on the behest of concerned Michigan parents who approached the law firm.
“Student data is stored in databases designed to follow students from their entry into schools in pre-Kindergarten up through theirentry into the workforce. These databases, through a complicated network of contracts and agreements, can then be shared with the federal government,contractors, researchers and other outside agencies. Testing corporations can then analyze the test data, produce recommendations for how to remediate, student weaknesses, and then sell that information back to states and school districts,” the TMLC news release stated.
Richard Thompson, TMLC President and Chief Counsel, commented in a statement: “The opt-out form is based on the constitutionally recognized fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children and on federal statutes which were designed to protect student privacy.”
He pointed out, “Our Founding Fathers recognized the danger to our freedoms posed by centralized control over public education. We must ever keep in mind, ‘The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will become the philosophy of the government in the next.'”
Thompson added, “Clearly, Common Core is a threat to individual privacy and liberty, and to our Constitutional Republic.
The Privacy Protection Request Form was designed under Michigan statutes. The legal disclaimer on the download page for the data-mining opt-out form cautions that “each state has different laws that may impact educational issues differently.”
Before using the form, TMLC advises, if outside of Michigan, consult with a licensed attorney in the state for a additional review and modifications that comply with the laws of the respective states. Similar has been done with the “opt-out” of high-stakes testing movement forms that have been tailored for use in the different states.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.