Your Child’s Personal Records Are Part of a Massive Government Database

Diane Ravitch's blog

When I worked in the U. S. Department of Education in the early 1990s, my agency would occasionally get letters demanding to know whether the federal government was keeping a file on the letter writer’s child. Some parents said they knew this was happening when students took the NAEP tests, which asks for background information about the family. They named a government warehouse in Maryland where these records were presumably kept. The letters were routed to me because the NAEP program was part of the agency I headed, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

I responded politely to every such letter that no personally identifiable information was retained. I didn’t take their fears seriously because they weren’t true.

That was then. This is now. All their worst fears have come true, and then some.

Leonie Haimson and Cheryl Kirsecker, advocates for student privacy, describe the Brave New World of…

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