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Group Fears Common Core Will Result In National Student Database

common core database

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Common Core is a highly controversial public education initiative which has led many to fear that national data on students and families will be collected by the federal government – a charge that the nation’s leading home school legal organization now is echoing.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) says Common Core is “laying the foundation for a national database filled with personal student data.”

Home School Legal Defense Association has long opposed the creation of such a database,” HSLDA authors Will Estrada and Katie Tipton wrote. “We believe that it would threaten the privacy of students, be susceptible to abuse by government officials or business interests, and jeopardize student safety. We believe that detailed data systems are not necessary to educate young people. Education should not be an Orwellian attempt to track students from preschool through assimilation into the workforce.”

Although the United States Department of Education would be breaking the law if a national database was created, such a database seems inevitable now, HSLDA says.

“Over the past decade, a slew of new federal incentives and federally funded data models have spurred states to monitor students’ early years, performance in college, and success in the workforce by following individuals systematically and efficiently across state lines. We believe that this expansion of state databases is laying the foundation for a national database filled with personal student data.”

Although the data from home school and private school students doesn’t appear to being included in any databases, HSLDA is “concerned that it will become increasingly difficult to protect the personal information” of these students “as these databases grow.”

An Oklahoma state government council is already calling on “databases to include the personal data of homeschool students.

In January 2012, the Department of Educated altered the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which formerly prohibited third parties from having access to students’ information — names of family members, living address, Social Security number, date and place of birth, disciplinary record and biometric record. Obviously, textbook and technology companies, as well as colleges and educational resource material manufacturers, could benefit greatly from detailed information about students.

Take a hard look at the true state of public education…

The “reshaping” of FERPA regulations now reportedly allows access to the personal information by any business or group which the US Department of Education says needs to evaluate an education program, HSLDA says. Both workforce and postsecondary learning institutions now can access the information. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act was altered without approval by Congress, prompting at least one lawsuit against the US Department of Education.

Collecting data across state lines inevitably will lead to a national database, HSLDA says.

“States are getting closer and closer to keeping the same data and using the same … technology to store it,” HSLDA says.

Amazingly, 46 states now have databases that can track students from preschool through the workforce.

The goal of the Common Core state standards is to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other. The standards, though, have further threatened privacy because the “authors of the Common Core are clear: the success of the standards hinges on the increased collection of student data,” HSLDA says.

The Big Brother mentality is threatening basic rights, HSLDA charges.

“A crucial part of the responsibility of parents is protecting the privacy of their children,” HSLDA says. “This enables parents not only to guard their children’s physical safety, but also to nurture their individuality and secure opportunities for them to pursue their dreams apart from government interference. The rise of national databases threatens these freedoms.”

As of January 2013, only Alaska and Texas had not adopted the recommended Common Core standards. While Virginia and Nebraska are “members” of the federal education organization, they have not yet adopted the academic standards which Common Core recommends. Minnesota has reportedly rejected the math standards, but has embraced the English Common Core requirements. The State of Indiana initially adopted the Common Core standards, but has suspended implementation and the initiative is now under “public review. Alabama officials have introduced a bill to repeal Common Core standards in the state.

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