The below is by Cheri Kiesecker and is reprinted from the Missouri Education Watchdog blog. Among other things, this new CT bill would strip privacy protections that students currently receive and eliminate notifications of contracts that allow for the sharing of personal student information without parent consent- including breach notifications. For more information on this bill, check out this action alert from Connecticut Alliance for Privacy in Education (or CAPE), and join their Facebook page on how you can help stop this bill from becoming law. Here is our Testimony In Opposition to Bill 7207.
Connecticut passed a student data privacy and transparency bill, Public Act 189, in 2016.
The bill adopted common sense policies associated with contracts between school districts and corporations that collect, maintain, and share student data. The CT law does NOT limit data collection, does not require parental consent prior to collecting data, it only asks that NEW or renewed contracts and bids collecting student data must handle data appropriately. The law requires parents to be notified if their child’s data is breached. To their credit, the CT Commission on Educational Technology has done great work and is prepared and ready for this law to be implemented. You can see their plan here: Operationalizing Public Act 189.
Why then, are some lawmakers in CT introducing bills to cripple this new law that protects student data privacy? Do they not think that keeping student data safe, notifying parents of a breach is important?
You may remember one Connecticut legislator introduced a bill in January to entirely repeal this new student privacy law. As CT blogger and parent Jonathon Pelto wrote,
“…in an astonishing, baffling and extremely disturbing move, State Representative Stephen Harding (R-107th District) has introduced legislation (HB 5233) to repeal this important law (Public Act 16-189)
…It is not clear who would ask Representative Harding to propose such a bill or why the representative would seek to do such harm to Connecticut’s students, parents and public schools.”
Fortunately, Representative Harding withdrew the bill after receiving much pushback (understandably) from the parent community.
New bill “Revising” CT Student Privacy to be heard Monday, March 6
This past week a new bill, 7207 to “revise” the student data privacy law, was introduced, and will be heard by the CT Joint Education Committee this Monday, March 6. This kind of a rush job could imply that they are hoping to pass this bill without giving parents time to react. This new bill, 7207, wants to repeal the data privacy law and delay further implementation until July 1, 2018. This would remove existing protection of school children for over a year. WHY?
The Student Data Privacy Law has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2016; it only applies to NEW contracts, only asks for transparency, the CT Edtech Commission has already done the work to implement it. WHY, would Connecticut want to now repeal protection and transparency?
Please email your comment or testimony in Word or PDF format to EDtestimony@cga.ct.gov . Testimony should clearly state your name and the bill you are commenting on: Bill 7207- AN ACT MAKING REVISIONS TO THE STUDENT DATA PRIVACY ACT OF 2016.
Connecticut citizens please contact your legislators directly. If you are not sure who they are or how to contact them you can look that up here: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp
Is it asking too much that when a company contracts with a school and collects and uses and shares children’s data, that the data be kept safe and parents be able to see how that data is used, breached, and not sold?
By repealing or delaying this law, who are they protecting?