Education-Industrial Complex Continues Assault on Student Privacy

Government and education technology entities are moving ahead with efforts to collect more and more sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) on America’s children and their families. Here is an update on some of those efforts: Weakening of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) According to excellent reporting by Cheri Kiesicker at Missouri Education Watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering removing the parental consent requirement for school technology use. She explains why this is a terrible idea: The FTC is considering several changes, including removing parent consent for edtech. See here (Section E. Question 23 covers the edtech

Congress to Reconsider Massive College Student Data Grab

As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the powerful chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, approaches retirement in 2020, he and Congress are making one last push to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). This legislation has been in a stalemate for the last five years. This means that the odious College Transparency Act (CTA – S800/HR1766) that we at The National Pulse, Joy Pullman at The Federalist, The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, and many others have warned about over the last few years is making a comeback. Alexander said as much in his Senate floor

How “Red Flag Laws” Could Open the Door to State Surveillance

Several weeks ago, we wrote about the very grave bipartisan concerns over “red flag laws” that have sadly been already passed in 17 states. These laws have been described as setting up a process that allows family members or law enforcement to ask a judge for an order that allows temporary confiscation of firearms if a person is deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. When even a state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and 2nd amendment rights organizations like Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are putting out similar talking

More Schools Discard Student Privacy in Elusive Quest for Safety

As efforts increase to protect school safety in the wake of high-profile school shootings like those in Parkland and Sandy Hook, so do data collection efforts by states and schools that significantly undermine student privacy. A recent article by Education Week outlined several of these efforts across the nation. Particularly disturbing are efforts to monitor students’ social media posts and combine them with the myriad of other data collected on students regarding behavior, discipline, legal encounters, and family status to try to predict violent or suicidal behavior. The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition covered such an effort by the Miami-Dade

Here Comes Big Brother: Home Visiting Laws Threaten Parental Rights Nationwide

Now that researchers and the staunchest proponents of the progressive nanny state are starting to admit that government preschool programs are failing to improve academic achievement for poor children, the big-government Left is joining with the corporate establishment to expand the even more invasive and still unsuccessful idea of home visiting. Bills are being pushed to do so in deep blue states like Minnesota, Oregon and Washington — plus, as documented by Cheri Kiesecker, in other states like Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire and New Mexico. The many problems with these programs have been documented in-depth at The Federalist and in

Anti-Privacy Database Bill Set to Become Law without Trump Veto

HR 4174, the privacy-crushing de facto national database bill discussed here earlier this week and recently at Townhall, will become law as early as tomorrow, January 12th, without a presidential veto. Economic and privacy experts are gravely concerned about this bill due to its potential to expand the welfare state and planned economy and an increased vulnerability of government data to hacking. This will also affect our children due to the ever-expanding mountain of data collected on them through education technology and state longitudinal databases as well as the weakening of FERPA, the federal privacy law. Although much is happening with

Congress Ignores Citizens, Votes to Pass Swamp-Expanding Database Bill

There they go again. Big Government and Big Data have received another gift from Congress while the privacy of ordinary citizens has been further eroded. In sadly typical lame-duck fashion, the Senate passed HR 4174, the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act, right before Christmas after strong citizen opposition had held up its passage for 13 months. The bill was brought to the Senate floor from committee without even a perfunctory hearing. As in the House, there was no real debate about the enormous privacy implications for individual American citizens. Except for the great efforts of constitutionally minded conservatives like Rep. Justin

4 Important Takeaways from the Federal School Safety Report

The Federal Commission on School Safety released their final report this past week. Given its sweeping scope, the report naturally contained many recommendations that were seen as controversial, regardless of one’s perspective on a particular issue. Here are four key takeaways regarding the issues of academic excellence, parental rights, privacy, and freedom of conscience. (The formal comments I submitted on these issues are available here.) 1.) The commission correctly recommended rescinding the Obama-era school discipline policy. In fact, this was such an important issue that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who chaired the commission, officially rescinded the policy just three

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