How Much Should the Feds Know About Your Child’s School Days?
Should the federal government know how many times your child has visited the school nurse or guidance counselor? Schools in New Jersey collect and forward this information but the practice could soon be illegal under legislation moving through Trenton.
A measure to keep students' personal information from being shared with the federal government was approved by the full Assembly Jan. 29. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
"Schools are collecting information and this can range from disciplinary actions, how many times you were sent to the principal's office, how many times you went to the nurse's office," said Assemblyman David Rible (R-Wall), one of the bill's primary sponsors.
Under the legislation, the New Jersey Department of Education would be required to notify parents and guardians that they have the option to remove a student's personal records from the database sent to any agency of the federal government.
"I think it's information that's really not necessary. The federal government doesn't need to know that. They can tell how a student's doing through test scores and report cards, and we don't need to collect every ounce of information about what our children are doing at school on a daily basis," Rible said.
With an increase in the number of data breaches at major businesses like Home Depot and Target, and hackers getting access to sensitive government and personal information, Rible said the measure would help guard against that type of situation as well.
"All of the (student) information is now being contained and stored into a cloud. We've seen how department stores lose credit card information - same thing about student data. I'm very concerned that this information can be stolen from a cloud and be used against the children whether it's for a college interview or future job interviews," Rible said.
In the fall of 2014, the New Jersey Attorney General's Office released a report that showed New Jersey faces more than a million hacking attempts per month. Rible said the report alone underscores the need to safeguard information collected on New Jersey students.