HELENA – As Montana public schools students take English and math assessment tests linked to new Common Core standards, the state and school districts will keep records of the test results.

Critics of the standards say they’re concerned that these and other student data, under rules related to Common Core, could become part of a national database on students.

“The (federal government) may make requests of data, and we have to provide it,” says Debra Lamm, a private education consultant from Livingston. “I’m not saying they have it right now today, but from everything I’ve pieced together, it appears to me they will have access to student-level data.”

State and local school officials say the only “student-level data” from Montana that are or will be provided to the U.S. Department of Education are aggregate information, showing how schools, school districts, demographic groups within schools and the state as a whole performed on tests or other programs.

An individual student’s information is not transmitted to the feds, they say.

“The only data that (the state) will transmit to the U.S. Education Department are aggregate data,” said Madalyn Quinlan, chief of staff for state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau.

Lamm and Tonya Shellnutt, state director for Concerned Women for America, a group with conservative stands on many social issues, also say recent changes in rules related to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allow student data to be released without the consent of students or their parents – and that the same parameters are now written into state law.

“Before, it was protected; now, it’s not protected,” Shellnutt said of student information.

FERPA does allow some parties to see a student’s records without the consent of the student, such as school officials, schools to which the student is transferring, officials auditing the school for evaluation purposes, financial aid organizations, accrediting organizations and organizations conducting studies for the school.

The state law, passed this year, merely says FERPA protections apply to student data collected by the state.

Federal and school officials say changes in FERPA rules clarified how student data are protected, both when they’re transferred among schools and used in school evaluations.

Missoulian State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison can be reached at 1-800-525-4920 or by email at mike.dennison@lee.net.

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(4) comments

Leadfoot

On the other hand, walter12, I predict that the Teachers' Unions will be opposed to this release of data, too. It will allow comparative studies on just how well, or poorly educated our children are, compared to the rest of the US. All that it will take is another Snowden to release the data that would be automatically sequestered, because of the poor Montana student results. The only privacy still existing in the US is the blocking of public information from the American citizens when it reflects badly upon the Administration, both local and national.

tinlizzie

And just how did Debra Lamm become an "education consultant"?

Atheist Educator
Atheist Educator

Since this is about the Core, let's look at the core of the opposition.

"Concerned Women for America" is a religious group that states they have "Biblical support" for what they do. One of their goals is to reverse what they see as the "exchange the faith and logic of a Biblical worldview for an irrational secularism based on an unthinking and cruel relativism."

They state that "...God is the Authority who established right and wrong by creation and by revelation in His Word, the Bible..."

They are opposed to the inclusion of biological evolution in science texts and argue for the inclusion of "Intelligent Design" instead.

They are, of course, anti-gay and anti-abortion. They want to bring our secular, civil laws into alignment with the Bible. They are a Dominionist group intent on turning our country into a theocracy.

walter12

There is no privacy anymore. In Obama's quasi- police state, there is even less, if that is possible. The IRS, ObamaCare madness, Google, which has been allied with Obama, and others know everything about you.

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