FSCCC & 10 Other Florida Groups Seek Student Data & Psychological Privacy Protection from Congress April, 2018

A letter signed by over 100 organizations, both nationally and in 31 states, including 11 Florida groups led by The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC), called on Congress to rewrite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).This letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee, these organizations strongly urged Congress to recognize that it is not the role or right of government to probe a child's most personal and sensitive attributes, as well as to protect the property interest that citizens have in their personal data.

"General education and labor databases should not be collecting and storing sensitive, subjective social, emotional, psychological and behavioral data," said Dr. Karen Effrem, a pediatrician, executive director of FSCCC, and president of Education Liberty Watch.  "Psychological data related to behavioral, mental health, or special education concerns should be gathered after informed consent and treated with the same care and confidentiality as medical data, with appropriate sharing with law enforcement as needed under current statutes. If this had been done in the Parkland situation, that horrific tragedy could have been avoided."
"Personal data collection without consent is an affront to freedom," said Emmett McGroarty, senior fellow at American Principles Project and co-author of the new book, Deconstructing the Administrative State: The Fight for Liberty. "The federal government has no right or authority to vacuum up mountains of personal data on its citizens without their consent, with only the vague intent to "help" them or others make decisions. This is especially true for children."
The letter submitted five recommendations for the FERPA rewrite:
  1. Do whatever is possible to decrease the amount of data collected on students, especially social-emotional learning (SEL) data. Collection of such data should be eliminated or at the very least a) not collected without informed opt-in parental consent and b) be treated as medical data.
  2. Treat whatever mental health, social emotional, or behavioral data collected for special-education evaluations or any other related program, such as Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) or Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), as medical data that cannot be housed in longitudinal databases.
  3. Use aggregate rather than individual data to the greatest extent possible.
  4. Obtain parental consent if data collected for one purpose is to be repurposed or shared with another federal agency.
  5. Eliminate the current language in FERPA allowing predictive testing.
The letter also received excellent coverage by Dr. Susan Berry at Breitbart.

Here is the  link to the full letter. Please use it to contact your members of Congress and congressional candidates. so that we may protect the privacy and minds of our children and our freedoms as Americans. For more details and reasons why FERPA must be overhauled, please see our blog post about this letter

Please Thank Members of the Florida Delegation that Voted Against the Disastrous Federal Omnibus Bill March, 2018

Despite the fiscal dangers and many upside down priorities, especially in education, Congress passed by  a House vote of 256-197 and a Senate vote of 65-32, the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that the president reluctantly signed.

Both Florida senators voted YEA. Please thank the following Florida members of the U.S. House that voted NAY:

  • Carlos Curbelo (R)
  • Ron DeSantis (R)
  • Matt Gaetz (R)
  • Al Lawson (D)
  • Brian Mast (R)
  • BIll Posey (R)
  • Darren Soto (D)
  • Daniel Webster (R)
  • Ted Yoho (R)

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