Education Department moves to collect very personal data on kids without parental knowledge

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Department of Education (DOE) officials, empowered a data-sharing requirement that states signed in order to get 2009 stimulus money, are moving to gather personal information on students that has nothing to do with education.

DOE revealed in a February report that it hopes schools with study “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes and intrapersonal resources – independent of intellectual ability.”  Joy Pullmann has the story at the Orange Country Register (emphasis added):

And that’s not all the feds want to know about your kids. The department is funding and mandating databases that could expand each kid’s academic records into a comprehensive personal record including “health care history, disciplinary record, family income range, family voting status and religious affiliation,” according to a 2012 Pioneer Institute report and the National Center for Educational Statistics. Under agreements every state signed to get 2009 stimulus funds, they must share students’ academic data with the federal government.

According to Pullmann, the DOE report also contemplates studying students’ facial expressions and posture. The studies are explicitly student-specific, rather than anonymous, and the Education Department also issued a regulation allowing schools to grant any “educational representative” access to that data — a term that can be applied to volunteers and private companies.

“In short, the government wants to collect a dossier on every child, containing highly personal information, without asking permission or even notifying parents,” Pullmann writes.

Read the full column here.

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