Parents seek statewide privacy act on student records

A local education advocate said Thursday she and other parents have asked state lawmakers to push for an education information privacy act similar to the federal law that protects student education records.

Beth Meyers, a former teacher and Denham Springs resident, also asked the Livingston Parish School Board what type of student data they collect and share with other agencies.

Meyers emphasized she was asking only about what information the school system shared, and not implying they snet out any data inappropriately.

During the School Board meeting, Meyers raised concerns about the amount of personal data collected during online education assessments called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

The tests are aligned with the oft-maligned Common Core standards.

Meyers also raised concerns about inBloom, a national database that collects student data and is supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

At one point, the state contracted with inBloom but later canceled the contract after parents raised privacy concerns over the data collection.

Meyers said after Thursday’s board meeting that she would like to see a state-level version of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The law applies to all schools that receive funds from programs approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We met with the governor’s education adviser and with their chief of staff several times the past month, and in the last meeting, we suggested maybe that we needed to do a state-level privacy law,” Meyers said.

Livingston School Superintendent John Watson told Meyers the school system was made aware of inBloom several months ago.

He also said school officials reviewed what they were sending to other agencies to make sure they send out only the minimal information necessary to the state Department of Education.