Alert! New Education Statute! Minnesota’s New Survey Law Provides Parents with Input and Schools with Guidance on Parental Notification

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Alert!  New Education Statute! 

Minnesota’s New Survey Law Provides Parents with Input and Schools with Guidance on Parental Notification

Governor Mark Dayton has just signed the supplemental spending bill, which means that MACC’s survey bill is now law!  Many thanks to House Education Committee Chair Sondra Erickson and Representatives Eric Lucero, author, and additional authors, representatives Erickson, Gruenhagen, and Pugh as well as Senator Mary Kiffmeyer’s amendment in the Senate. Our thanks for the many spoken and written testimonies, the parents who attended the hearings and the abundant number of school surveys received by MACC to fill multiple notebooks.

As we’ve reported for three years, many of our schools are administering surveys to students with little or no parental notification.  To be fair, some districts are giving some notification and MACC is grateful for those.   But the point of this bill was to give parents due notification when their child’s data is about to be taken via surveys.

The data collected from surveys have been disseminated to a plethora of third parties, including business vendors, corporations, and university research institutions.  Some of these entities may further share or sell that data.   Much of the data is very sensitive and private and may divulge family information, including religious beliefs, sexual affiliation, political persuasion, and other information.

We do encourage parents to become involved which your school board, not only in the process of identifying appropriate surveys, but also vetting where that survey information is going.   This law is expressly written for the involvement and engagement of parents.

Minnesota Statute 121A.065 states that school districts and charter schools must develop and adopt policies on conducting student surveys and their distribution IN CONSULTATION WITH PARENTS.  This is about as close to local control as one gets!  Additionally, school districts and charter schools must:

  1. Directly notify parents of these policies at the beginning of each school year
  2. Directly notify parents after making any substantive changes
  3. Inform parents at the beginning of the year if the district or school has identified specific or approximate dates for administering survevys
  4. Give parents reasonable notice of planned surveys scheduled after the start of the year
  5. Give parents direct, timely notice, by United States mail, email, or other direct form of communication, when the students are scheduled to participate in a student survey
  6. Give parents the opportunity to review the survey and to opt their students out of participating in the survey
  7. School districts and charter schools must not impose an academic or other
    penalty upon a student who opts out of participating in a survey under paragraph (a).

Read the statute.

Minnesota Statute 121A.065

466.11    Sec. 27. [121A.065] DISTRICT SURVEYS TO COLLECT STUDENT 
466.12INFORMATION; PARENT NOTICE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR OPTING OUT.
466.13(a) School districts and charter schools, in consultation with parents, must develop 
466.14and adopt policies on conducting student surveys and using and distributing personal 
466.15information on students collected from the surveys. School districts and charter schools 
466.16must:
466.17(1) directly notify parents of these policies at the beginning of each school year and 
466.18after making any substantive policy changes;
466.19(2) inform parents at the beginning of the school year if the district or school has 
466.20identified specific or approximate dates for administering surveys and give parents 
466.21reasonable notice of planned surveys scheduled after the start of the school year;
466.22(3) give parents direct, timely notice, by United States mail, e-mail, or other direct 
466.23form of communication, when their students are scheduled to participate in a student 
466.24survey; and
466.25(4) give parents the opportunity to review the survey and to opt their students out of 
466.26participating in the survey.
466.27(b) School districts and charter schools must not impose an academic or other 
466.28penalty upon a student who opts out of participating in a survey under paragraph (a).
466.29EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective for the 2016-2017 school year and 
466.30later.

If you would like to help MACC as well continue to work at the legislature, please contact us here or via facebook.

 

 

 

ALERT! MACC Testifies Before House Committee and You’re Invited! House Education Committee Hearing, Thursday, March 17th

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ALERT!  MACC Testifies Before House Hearing and You’re Invited!  House Education Committee Hearing, Thursday, March 17th.

This week, five or six student and family data privacy bills will get a hearing from the House Education Policy Committee, Rep Sondra Erickson, chair.  The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 17th at 8:15 a.m. until 10:00 noon.  The hearing will likely reconvene in the late afternoon or early evening.  This is the first of six scheduled hearings for the entire legislative session for this committee.  MACC is very appreciative to have these bills heard and is the culmination of three years of work on data privacy for students, families and teachers.  Hearing will occur in the Basement Hearing Room, State. Office Building.

MACC invites all parents and residents to attend the hearing, pack the committee room and speak to why these bills are necessary to protect student data privacy.    We are lining up speakers for the hearing now!  Please email through our website www.MNagainstCC.com or facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaAgainstCommonCore/ or contact any MACC board member.  We will add you to the list of testifiers.  If you cannot be available to testify on Thursday, but would like your voice to be heard, please submit written testimony to addresses above.

Two weeks ago, Anne Taylor, Chris Daniels and Linda Bell testified before the House Education Policy Committee about student and family data privacy issues.  At that hearing, we learned from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) that personally identifiable information is being sent directly from the MDE to the University of Minnesota Minn-Link Data System which includes 9 integrated databases across state agencies.  Did your school ask you about sharing your personal information?

Minnesota Student Data Hearing Reveals MDE Behemoth Database and Data System Without Audit for over 10 Years, details a summary of the hearing as well as the testimonies of three of our MACC board members at the conclusion of the article.   https://commoncoremn.com/2016/03/01/minnesota-student-data-hearing-reveals-mde-behemoth-database-and-data-system-without-audit-for-10-years-has-your-familys-information-been-hacked/

Here is a listing of the bills that will be heard this Thursday.  House Files are pre-legislation to be read, discussed and voted by the education committee.

  1. Survey Opt In and Parental Disclosure. House File 2671 includes an opt in on the hundreds of surveys taken on students every year across Minnesota.  This bill does NOT include the Minnesota Student Survey.  It does require schools to give parents notification prior to administering a survey on their children.  Civil remedies included.

House File 2671 (Rep. Lucero).  We hopefully will see a companion within a day or two in the Senate.

House Authors and co-authors:  Reps. Lucero, Whelan, Smith.

READ the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF2671&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2016&session_number=0

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Three bipartisan bills, promoted by the ACLU and the Tenth Amendment Center, are being combined into one bill and are being compiled at this very moment. The three are:

Student Privacy in personal electronic devices on campus protected, and civil penalties provided.

House File 2990  (Co-Authors:  Reps. Lucero and Lesch)

Read the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF2900&ssn=0&y=2016

 

  • Student privacy with respect to electronic data in student information systems protected, and penalties provided.

House File 2899 (Co-Authors:  Reps. Lucero and Lesch)

Read the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF2899&ssn=0&y=2016

  • Student privacy in data on electronic devices provided by an educational institution protected, and penalties provided.

House File 2898  (Co-Authors:  Reps. Lucero and Lesch)

Read the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF2898&ssn=0&y=2016

  1. Education commissioner directed to develop plan to ensure privacy and security of students’ personally identifiable information. This bill directs the commissioner to protect student/family personal information. In particular, audits, “regular privacy and security compliance audits of the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System and other data systems; and

(4) data retention, storage, disposal, and security policies and protocols that include:

(i) safeguards for protecting, managing, accessing, and destroying students’
personally identifiable data; and

(ii) plans, notices, and mitigation procedures for responding to data breaches, among
other such policies and protocols

House File 2762  (Author:  Rep. Erickson)

Read the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF2762&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2016&session_number=0

 

  1. Statutes governing parental rights in education cross-reference directory created.

House File 2813 (Author: Rep. Erickson)  This is a compilation of parental rights, K-12 found elsewhere in Minnesota statute.

Read the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF2813&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2016&session_number=0 

Other bills MACC is hopeful in getting a hearing, not in any particular order.

  1. Parent Curriculum Review amendment. Minnesota Statute 120B.20 Parent Curriculum Review affords parents the opportunity to see the curriculum their children are studying.  The amendment (underlined) (House File 1777 & Senate File 2450) updates the definition section bringing the statute into the 21st century with online curriculum.  We have wonderful bipartisan support!

House File 1777 (Rep. Lucero) and companion (duplicate) Senate File 2450 (Sen. Chamberlain)

House authors and co-authors:  Reps. Lucero, Gruenhagen, Erickson, Davnie, Newton, Smith, Pugh

READ the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF1777&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

  1. FERPA Law Training. This pre-bill is being filed tomorrow.   After attending a session this summer on training superintendents, administrators and teachers given by the US DOE, MACC learned that excellent materials are available through the MDE to train teachers on the FERPA and PPRA laws, as well as, training teachers on best practices in protecting student, family and teacher data.  Presently, this training on best practices in data privacy is not occurring in Minnesota.  A number of states now make data privacy training mandatory.  This bill requires one (1) representative from each district to be training in FERPA, PPRA and data privacy best practices.

House File:  To be filed on Monday.  Bill will be posted on the MACC states pages once the revisor has posted.

House Author:  Rep Smith

 

  1.  Parental Rights Amendment.  The bills clarifies a parent’s right to raise and guide their children’s education.  This is an amendment to 120A.22, Compulsory Instruction.  The one sentence addition states, “The parent of a child is ultimately responsible for guiding the child’s
    educational experience and what the child learns in school.

House File:  To be filed on Monday.

Senate File 2763:  Sen. Limmer (author)

Read the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF2763&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2016&session_number=0

  1. Data Bill:  Student data access addressed, disclosure requirements affecting personally identifiable information about a student clarified, and personally identifiable information in electronic student education records managed. Another bill with wonderful bipartisan support!

Authors:  Reps. Lucero, Gruenhagen, Erickson, Davnie, Isaacson, Smith, Newton, Pugh  Read the bill.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF1779&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

 

The data privacy issue for students, families and teachers is incredibly deep and wide.  No parent enjoys having to hire privacy from LifeLock or Legal Shield due to security theft.  We are encouraged and hopeful that this hearing will discuss pertinent concerns of the citizens of Minnesota and that we will see the passage of meaningful legislation.

As an addendum, the following individuals are members of the House Education Innovation Policy committee.  Please call them and ask them to support these bills.  GO!  CALL or EMAIL!

 

Education Innovation Policy Membership 2015 – 2016
Meets: Tuesday and Thursday at 8:15 a.m. in Basement Hearing Room of the State Office Building.

Committee Chair

Sondra Erickson (R)
479 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-6746
E-mail: rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn

 

Vice Chair

Peggy Bennett (R)
507 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-8216
E-mail: rep.peggy.bennett@house.mn

 

DFL Lead

Carlos Mariani (DFL)
203 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-9714
E-mail: rep.carlos.mariani@house.mn

 


David Bly (DFL)

301 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0171
E-mail: rep.david.bly@house.mn

 


Drew Christensen (R)

529 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4212
E-mail: rep.drew.christensen@house.mn

 


Jim Davnie (DFL)

393 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0173
E-mail: rep.jim.davnie@house.mn

 


Peggy Flanagan (DFL)

309 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-7026
E-mail: rep.peggy.flanagan@house.mn

 


Ron Kresha (R)

531 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4247
E-mail: rep.ron.kresha@house.mn

 


Eric Lucero (R)

515 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-1534
E-mail: rep.eric.lucero@house.mn

 


Rena Moran (DFL)

329 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-5158
E-mail: rep.rena.moran@house.mn

 


Bud Nornes (R)

471 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4946
E-mail: rep.bud.nornes@house.mn

 


Roz Peterson (R)

521 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-5387
E-mail: rep.roz.peterson@house.mn

 


Nels Pierson (R)

379 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4378
E-mail: rep.nels.pierson@house.mn

 


Yvonne Selcer (DFL)

227 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3964
E-mail: rep.yvonne.selcer@house.mn

 


Dean Urdahl (R)

473 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4344
E-mail: rep.dean.urdahl@house.mn

 


JoAnn Ward (DFL)

231 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-7807
E-mail: rep.joann.ward@house.mn

 


Abigail Whelan (R)

439 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-1729
E-mail: rep.abigail.whelan@house.mn

 


Anna Wills (R)

477 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4306
E-mail: rep.anna.wills@house.mn

 


Barb Yarusso (DFL)

307 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0141
E-mail: rep.barb.yarusso@house.mn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waconia Schools Conduct a Screener Sharing Private Student Information with the U of MN

 

Waconia Schools logo

This is a most concerning story from a parent in the Waconia School district.  First, the parent was given notification much too late (the day of).  Secondly, teachers are being called upon to act as psychologists, though teachers might have only 1 or 2 university classes in psychology.  Third, the private information on each student goes to the University of Minnesota.  Are parents notified that personal information is sent to the U of MN?  No!  Not unless the parent asks.  Remember Minn-Link that huge 9 database data system at the U?  University “research” institutions may share private student and family information with anyone, defined under FERPA redisclosure.

Waconia Schools Conduct a Screener Sharing Private Student Information with the U of M

By Jennifer Black-Allen

Anyone else see different things happening in your school district that you are totally baffled by, or see as a very concerning issue in regards to your child’s education? I have been following my children’s education much more closely since discovering that our district was using math books with Common Core written on the front (knowing that Minnesota had not adopted the substandard standards as compared to our own Minnesota State Standards in Math). But this is just one of the things I have seen and read in my district that are very concerning to me.

Back at the beginning of October, I was angered by the email announcement of the SAEBRS (Social, Academic, Emotional & Behavioral Risk Assessment) on our students K-4th grade starting this year, and it is to be done 3 times a year. This is a series of 19 questions that each students’ teacher must fill out 3 times a year on each student.

Let’s get this straight, an email on the day of or after the fact of administering any screener, survey or assessment does not constitute disclosure. We were notified of the screener (this is what they called it instead of an assessment) via e-mail in October. I got the email 20 minutes after it was received in my inbox.

I immediately emailed my children’s teachers stating they were to be opted out of this screener as it was not on the districts testing and assessment calendar and I knew nothing about it. So until further notice, no SAEBRS for my children. Mind you, the SAEBRS is not on Waconia’s School District Assessment Schedule, which I received the week prior in an email from the district, nor is it listed today. I then posted this on my Facebook page. I had a few people message me about it and their concerns as well. I also emailed the principal of my children’s school. His response took a couple of days, but I received a packet with a letter attached from him, information about the SAEBRS, and a copy of the screener itself. It is also to be noted that nowhere in this email notice was there the option to opt out of the screener, no disclaimer, and nothing about passive consent. It was just stated that this is what we are doing and here is your notification.

By the end of the day, this screener had already been done on my child. The teacher, along with the Principal assured me that my child’s screener had been taken out of the system, and unfortunately, there is now no record paper or digital of your child’s screener. Additionally, in the letter I received from the principal, it clearly stated that, “It is not an assessment in the normal sense we think of.  It is simply a quick rating scale the teacher does on each student in their respective classrooms.  It typically takes less than 30 minutes for a teacher to complete on their entire class.  Students are not directly involved in the process. Most teachers have already completed the scale.”

A couple days later, I got the letter and packet of information from the principal. The information included in this should have been disclosed to each of Waconia’s K-4 parents and then they make the decision on whether their children should participate or not. Our children are not lab rats, and should not be poked and prodded about their lives.

In the letter, “social emotional learning plays a substantial role in creating a positive school climate for children, which in turn promotes school connectedness and increased academic success… Specifically, SAEBRS evaluates general behavior, social, emotional and academic behaviors. The SAEBRS is used nationally and designed for the use across all grade levels K-12, it was developed by the University of Minnesota. Reports provide information on whether individual students are at-risk for academic, social, and/or identify emotional behaviors. When SAEBRS is used to screen students across a class or grade level, the group reports help identify trends that may need class-wide or school-wide intervention and support.”

So just who is my district, or your district sharing information about our children with? And going further, who are those parties sharing our children’s information with? This screener’s data is stored at the University of Minnesota as part of the Formative Assessment System Topics program (FAST) and discloses our children’s Name, grade level and MARS number, meaning individual data being collected and we have no idea how many other “Authorized Representatives” have access to this information. Personally Identifiable Information on our students being sent out of our school district to the U of M.

How many of you have read your school board policies? (Crickets), You are not alone. But everyone needs to take the time to read through them, especially the 515 Protection and Privacy of Pupil Records and the 520 Student Surveys sections. In reading Waconia’s 515 policy, Authorized Representative

“Authorized representative” means any entity or individual designated by the school district, state, or an agency headed by an official of the Comptroller of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, or state and local educational authorities to conduct, with respect to federal or state supported education programs, any audit or evaluation or any compliance or enforcement activity in connection with federal legal requirements that relate to these programs.

My biggest concern is that Waconia School District approved this Screener, and did not fully disclose the information that this information was being collected by the U of M. This was only disclosed to me once I questioned about where this information went. And that parents should have had this information along with a disclosure, just as with the Minnesota Student Survey their right to opt their children out.

As my children’s education advocate, I will continue to question any and all assignments, assessments, surveys, screeners that are administered. I am thankful for the information that our principal supplied, as it reinforced my decision to advocate for my children and that their data not be shared. I continue to look into and research the assessments that my children are subject to. Our schools are to assess academics, not values.

 

SAEBRS Screener from Waconia

Keeping you informed on CCSS in Minnesota

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