John Kasich on ‘Exploiting’ Student Privacy in Ohio: ‘I Have No Clue’

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich marches in the annual Labor Day parade on September 7, 2015 in Milford, New Hampshire. Kasich, buoyed by what observers called a strong performance in the first GOP debate, has emerged as a first tier presidential candidate with voters in New Hampshire, the nation's first …
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In a video made available to Breitbart News, GOP presidential contender John Kasich responds to an activist parent’s challenge about his failure to protect private student data in his state.

The Ohio governor replied that he had no clue what she was talking about.

While Kasich was campaigning in New Hampshire, education liaison with Cornerstone Action Ann Marie Banfield asked him about his recent grade of “F” he received on the Common Core report cards released on all the GOP primary candidates in August by American Principles in Action’s (APIA) The Pulse 2016.

Kasich, an ardent champion of the Common Core standards, was graded on whether he helped to end the Common Core system, his protection of state and local decision-making, and his protection of child and family data privacy.

Regarding the data privacy issue, executive director of APIA education Emmett McGroarty observed at The Pulse:

Kasich’s record in Ohio shows that as governor he has done more to violate the privacy of students than protect it. Kasich’s 2014-2015 biennial budget created a $250 million fund to provide grants to various educational groups for the development of innovative educational programs. Unfortunately, the 350 school districts currently participating in the program are required to share extensive amounts of personally identifiable data on the students and their parents without their knowledge or consent.

The types of educational records to be shared can be “any information recorded in any way, including but not limited to; handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, microfilm and microfiche.” The Data Sharing Agreement offers no safeguards to protecting the privacy of the participants stating, “[the] School District may disclose Personally Identifiable Information from an Education Record of a student or parent without consent if the disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to improve instruction.”

The data shared with the authorized third parties are not anonymous or disaggregated in any way. According to the Data Sharing Agreement, researchers can have access to a student’s “social security number, biometric identifier, or student number.”

“On the issue of student data privacy, Kasich has exploited, not protected, the students and families in Ohio,” McGroarty wrote.

When confronted with these statements in New Hampshire, Kasich responded, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, to tell you the truth.”

He continued:

But, let me tell you about my record in Ohio in education. We have the largest amount of funding for K through 12 education in Ohio history. Number two: we have one of the most expansive school choice in the country – 60,000 vouchers – and our charter schools are very, very robust. And we are working now that if the charter school is not quality, we’re going to shut it down. On top of all of that, we have evaluation for teachers and buildings where parents can actually take over a building…

And I have no clue, because if that’s going on and that data’s getting out, I’m opposed to it, because I’ll tell you something, I stand in between Chris Christie and Rand Paul. I don’t want the government having their hands on our stuff, and if they get their hands on our stuff I want to judge to approve…

As Breitbart News reported last week, newly released documents indicate that the husband of Kasich’s presidential campaign manager participated with other Ohio Department of Education staff in a coordinated effort to falsely inflate the evaluations of some charter school sponsors. The data-rigging allowed sponsors of poor-performing online schools to appear to be engaged in adequate supervision of those schools.

The state’s Education Director of School Choice, David Hansen – husband of Beth Hansen, Kasich’s former chief of staff and now his presidential campaign manager – resigned after admitting he manipulated the evaluations of some charter schools. Hansen’s position was created in 2013 by Kasich himself to oversee the expansion of the state’s charter schools, four years after Hansen – while president of the Buckeye Institute – was first caught data-rigging charter school evaluations for a big Republican donor and owner of a charter school company.

“According to Ohioans Against Common Core and the Data Sharing Agreement between the local school districts and Ohio State University, it appears as if local schools in Ohio are sharing personal data on students,” Banfield said in a statement to Breitbart News. “It concerns voters in New Hampshire that personal information can be collected on their children without parental knowledge or consent.”

“In his answer Gov. Kasich committed to stopping data mining on children; our hope is that he will go back to Ohio and begin that process immediately,” she added. “For now, I don’t think New Hampshire voters who value privacy will appreciate this revelation.”


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