ACTION ALERT: Senate Student Privacy Bill Threatens Use of Education Data
Friday, May 29, 2015
I am writing to alert you about a serious threat to the quality of and access to education data. As you may know, student data privacy is a hot topic in Congress and state legislatures these days. AERA has a long history of commitment to privacy and to strong confidentiality and data protection provisions.
In our leadership role on these issues, AERA has always maintained that, with thoughtful data security plans and regulations, student data can be protected without undermining the data integrity for use by researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Unfortunately, in their push to safeguard student privacy, some members of Congress have overlooked the unintended consequences of educational policy and practice proceeding absent research evidence and data. Simply put, data use and privacy protection have been—and can be—aligned to serve the public good.
On May 14, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced The Student Privacy Protection Act (SB 1341). This legislation, if it were to pass, would have a devastating impact on the quality of education research. We are likely to see this language in the form of an amendment to ESEA, which could be considered on the Senate floor as early as next week. We are circulating a community sign-on letter that opposes the bill and identifies four primary concerns about the legislation. We are collecting signatures from research organizations and individual researchers who oppose SB 1341.
We encourage you to sign this letter and share it with your colleagues. Please use this link to add your name or organization to the letter. Deadline to sign on is Friday, May 29.
Please feel free to contact Juliane Baron (firstname.lastname@example.org), AERA director of government relations, if you have any questions about the letter or the legislation.
Felice J. Levine, PhD