Friday, June 15, 2018

Send in your comments today to the state on how they need to enforce the student privacy law; and how NYC DOE violates it in many ways

Only two more NYSED student privacy forums remain: tonight, Friday June 15, in Albany and in Queens at Aviation HS in Long Island City on Monday, June 18th;  more info here.
I urge anyone who can attend to do so.

In any case, please send in your comments ASAP to; the deadline is also Monday, June 18th.  Here is a sample message:

The NY student privacy law, Section 2-D, was passed in 2014, more than four years ago, and yet the state has made very little progress in implementing or enforcing this law.  The NY Parent Bill of Privacy Rights as written needs to be expanded to require full transparency from districts and schools, including the posting of all contracts with vendors or other organizations that gain access to personal student information, prohibiting contractors from making further redisclosures to third parties without parental consent; and including far more rigorous security standards to prevent breaches, ransomware and other growing risks to children's privacy.  

The current Parent Bill of Rights also lacks any mention of the critical legal rights parents have to protect their children's privacy under four important federal student privacy federal laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA) the National School Lunch Act (NSLA), the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).

NYSED  must also do far better in enforcing the law.  The NYC DOE currently violates students privacy in several ways, including making personal student information available to charter schools for marketing purposes; and failing to include any mention of the Parent Bill of Privacy rights in its contracts with vendors, as the state law requires.  The DOE currently shares a great deal of personal student information with CBOs, including students' sexual preferences, without parental knowledge and allows the College Board to ask students' personal questions before the administration of the PSAT and SAT exams, without prior parental consent -- which violates at least three federal student privacy laws, according to recent guidance from the US Department of Education: FERPA, PPRA and IDEA.  

Finally, I urge you to appoint a Stakeholder Data Privacy oversight board, as SED promised to do in 2009 in return for a federal grant, which would provide critical ongoing public oversight into the collection of personal student data by the state and districts, as well as their privacy-enhancing policies and practices. 

Yours sincerely, [name, address, email]

My testimony from last Tuesday's student privacy forum in Manhattan is below.  In it, I explain in more detail all the problems with the state's lack of enforcement mentioned above and more.  Please feel free to quote from any of this if you like.  It took me over two years to access any contracts from DOE, and what I have found so far is quite startling. thanks Leonie

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