JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT DATA PRIVACY.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, 106th Dist.
Rep. Gail Lavielle, 143rd Dist.
Rep. Noreen S. Kokoruda, 101st Dist.
Sen. Toni Boucher, 26th Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
The purpose of this bill is to institute safeguards of student data given to entities outside the school or regional board of education from improper use or uses not defined for educational advancement. This information is protected for all students between Kindergarten and grade 12. Student records as defined by this bill means any information directly related to the student which is collected by the school or board of education.
Lines 34-35 replace, “student records continue to be property and under the control of Education Committee, State Board of Education, and State Department of Education,” with, “student records and student-generated content are not the property and under the control of a contractor.”
Lines 93-99 add additional information to notice that boards must give to parents after executing a contract, including: date the contract was executed, student records which may be collected under the contract, and a parent's ability to opt-out.
Lines 129-130 adds to the definition of a student info to include, “survey responses and behavioral assessments.”
Lines 131-134 adds to the definition of a student to include a child enrolled in preschool.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Dianne R. Wentzell, Commissioner, State Department of Education:
Commissioner Wentzell supported this legislation as it the focused is on the local level, but recommends modifying the 48 hour notification period, as it may not always be enough time to properly notify parents or legal guardians, board of education, and other parties should there be a breach of privacy. The Department of Education is also concerned with Section 3(b), as is could create confusion as to how student directory information may or may not be shared.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
David McGuire, American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut:
Mr. McGuire testified on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT). ACTL-CT strongly supported this legislation, and testified that the additional section should be added to the bill to prevent a student's personal device from being searched without reasonable suspicion. Mr. McGuire referenced the current West Haven school policy in which, “1,800 students “should have no expectation of privacy as to any images, messages, or other files such devices may contain””.
Dr. Karissa Neihoff, Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Schools:
Dr. Neihoff supported this bill as schools and school districts are often left in the dark on how vendors use the collected information. Dr. Niehoff also stated, “We need to be sure that intra-district use of information advances the work of the student learning without compromising personal privacy”.
The following parents support this legislation but would also like to see it strengthened to require parental notification and informed parental consent for all information given.
Pam Lucaschu, Legislative Liaison, TEACH CT
Kimberly and Maria Naughton, New Canaan, Connecticut
Merle Sprague, Beacon Falls, Connecticut
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Brendan Desetti, Director of Education Policy for Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA:
Mr. Desetti testified that this legislation would create an unnecessary barrier to the appropriate use of information and data for Connecticut educators. Mr. Desetti is also concerned that the specific steps taken to protect student privacy listed publically in the bill raise security concerns, as the groundwork for security may be visible by those who seek to do harm.
Ray Rossomando, Research and Policy Specialist, Connecticut Education Association:
Mr. Rossomando testified that this bill favors the vendors, not the student, claiming substantial conflicts between the school and student privacy, and does not give the parent enough say over the data of his or her child. Mr. Rossomando stated that this bill should mirror the protections and privacy provided under current Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in how student data may be collected and used..
Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE):
The Representative from the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education stated that although CABE supported the intent of the bill, the organization believes the strict contractual provisions of the bill will make it difficult for schools and boards to negotiate future contracts.
John Bestor, Sandy Hook:
Mr. Bestor testified that legislation is needed to protect a student's information, however that the current bill is not the solution. Mr. Bestor testified that the bill should provide the student and parent(s) with notice of all information which is being collected, as well as the uses of such information, as well as an expiration date on which this data may be used and held.
Ms. Creighton stated the bill should be more open-ended to allow for schools and districts to update their policies are the technology they employ changes.
Mary E. Burnham, Sandy Hook, CT:
Ms. Burnham testified that the bill does not go far enough in protecting all students, requiring parental consent, and limiting the type and quantity of information provided to vendors.
Reported by: Andrew Lampart