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Op-ed Placement

Student Privacy Concerns Add to Common Core Resistance

Originally Published in RedState on 12/5/14.

There are many things to hate about Common Core standards. From convoluted, unsolvable math problems, to an increased reliance on soulless standardized testing, to a lack of local control and adaptation to individual circumstances, just about everyone can find something to object to. One of the most concerning aspects of the program, however, is the invasive collection of personal data from students, an area that has received far too little attention in media discussions of education.

All states opting into Common Core have agreed to substantially expand their State Longitudinal Data Services program, which allows schools to collect and store student data. In exchange for this enhanced data collection, states received federal grants from Race to the Top, essentially a cash prize for schools that do things the Department of Education wants them to do under the blanket terms “innovation,” “reform,” and “excellence.”

The exact nature and extent of the data to be collected remains the subject of disagreement. Several groups are alleging that extremely sensitive personal information, such as mental health info, is being collected, although this has been denied by state Departments of Education. The words and actions of government officials, however, tell a different story, and indicate that we should be loath to take such dismissals at face value.