Does Common Core Violate Children’s Privacy Through Data Collection?

Aside from the outlandish questions  in the Common Core test that only serve to frustrate children (and parents) to the point of tears… is there something even more insidious hidden in the initiative?  You bet.  The test will be used as a vehicle to data mine for ‘sensitive and personal’ information that will then become part of the “permanent record” for children who sit for the Common Core exams.  Tracey Ramey from Pennslvanians Against Common Core claims “This follows them from the cradle to the grave…”

From the article:

What’s alarming is what they are doing with the data,” Ramey said.

The process, set to play out throughout the country in what critics call a “womb to workplace” information system, was originally developed by the Department of Labor and contains information on every U.S. citizen under the age of 26. Most of the information on individuals is collected while K-12 students are in school, and includes names, grades and information such as personality traits, behavior patterns and even fingerprints. The state of Pennsylvania was one of the early adopters of the data mining and contributed to the framework for a nationwide program.

Both groups allege that any state entity as well as outside contractors can access personal information.

“The personally identifiable information includes information on every student’s personality, attitudes, values, beliefs, and disposition, a psychological profile called Interpersonal Skills Standards and anchors,” reads the letter sent to Corbett on Monday. “This data has been illegally obtained through deceptive means without the parents’ knowledge or consent through screening, evaluations, testing, and surveys. These illegal methods of information gathering were actually fraudulently called ‘academic standards’ on the [Pennsylvania] Department of Education website portal.”

Sharing the students information with third parties is an obvious violation of basic rights to privacy.  But how many parents are aware that this is happening with Common Core?

Anita Hoge, a member of Pennsylvanians Restoring Education, said local districts may have a need to collect some personal information, but a state or national database is a danger.

“There are two problems with sharing data beyond the local district,” she said. “First, parents are not aware that FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] regulations now allow their children’s data (personally identifiable information) to be shared to outside third party vendors. And, this data is being collected and placed on a data system that is shared with the feds. This first level of data collection and sharing is a violation of privacy.”

“The second problem is that the data then becomes a ‘decision making model,’” she added. “This is where the violations of privacy are expanded for information to be used for ‘interventions.’ This is a civil rights violation.”

While I am not sure if that exactly entails a ‘civil rights violation’, this is absolutely a cause for serious concern for parents who value their children’s privacy.


Here at Take Back Your Classrooms, we are going to give people a nonpartisan perspective on this educational  crisis, and hopefully a way out.  If enough of us make noise, at the right time, to the right people, then I believe that we can force our lawmakers to remove this cancer from our children’s lives.  Join us, and let’s take back our classrooms!


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