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States Crack Down on Student Tracking Data and Technology

States Crack Down on Student Tracking Data and Technology

States are stepping back from using data and other technology to track their students.

Due to fear about data breaches and other concerns, states including Florida, New Hampshire, Colorado, North Carolina, and Kansas have either banned or cracked down on its use in schools, according to an article on PewTrusts.org. 

These tools, such as radio frequency chips in student ID cards, or biometric scanners that can identify a student's fingerprint, "have become increasingly common in schools, which use them to take attendance, alert parents where their children get off the school bus, or speed up lunch lines," the article said. 

"But those tools, which are supposed to make schools safer and more efficient, have become a flashpoint for controversy," the article said. "Several states are now banning or restricting the use of the technology in schools, as worries over student privacy have risen amid breaches of government and commercial computer databases."

Florida, the article said, "became the first state to ban the use of biometric identification in its schools." Kansas, the article said, "said biometric data cannot be collected without student or parental consent."

"New Hampshire, Colorado, and North Carolina said the state education departments cannot collect and store biometric data as a part of student records," the article said. "New Hampshire and Missouri lawmakers said schools can’t require students to use ID cards equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that can track them."

These laws, the article said, "reflect a growing sense of unease among parents and lawmakers about new technology, how it’s being used, what student data is being collected and stored and what security protects the information."

“Technology is moving so fast,” said Paige Kowalski, director of state policy and advocacy for the campaign in the article. “I think that’s why you’re seeing these new laws. I think people are nervous about it. It’s new. It’s different from when we were kids...I think there’s a desire to use (technology), and a desire to slow down. We want to know exactly how it’s being used … so we don’t sacrifice too much privacy.”

In the nation 36 states considered 110 bills this year, the article said according to the Data Quality Campaign, "on the collection and security of student data. At least 39 bills addressed biometric data, according to the campaign’s tracking, including 14 that passed."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor 

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