Memo to APPAM Members: Senate Student Privacy Bill Threatens Use of Education Data
May 28, 2015 02:28 PM
Dear APPAM Members,
Earlier this year we alerted you about potential legislation that could have an adverse impact on researchers who use data from local and state school systems and asked for your comments. There has been some movement on this issue and a bill has been introduced that we want to make you aware of.
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.
Now is the time to take action!
We would like to bring to your attention a community sign-on-letter that the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Knowledge Alliance has recently circulated and which APPAM has signed on to as an organization. We are also asking APPAM members to sign on to the letter as individuals.
Please sign on to the letter by next Wednesday, June 3!
Below is the text of the letter being circulated by AERA and the Knowledge Alliance.
"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."
APPAM thanks you in advance for your attention to this piece of legislation that could adversely impact the research community.