Protection of confidential student information sought by Oklahoma legislators

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: March 31, 2013
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“We want to stop that from happening again, Brumbaugh said. “And also the other issue is when you're sharing data like this and it's out there, we know that no system is immune from being hacked into, and on top of that these Internet predators can get hold of young people's data and we don't want that to happen.”

Educator support

The state Education Department does not oppose the bill, said Joel Robison, the agency's chief of staff.

“We're trying to just make sure that we're able to continue to do the reporting that we have to do for federal and state reports,” Robison said. “As long as that isn't jeopardized, and if the bill puts more protections in so people can feel more comfortable about us not releasing information that we shouldn't be releasing, it's fine with us.”

The department is not providing any confidential student information now, he said.

“The only information we share with government bodies is for education purposes,” Robison said. “We're not going to be releasing information to any private companies or anything like that.”

HB 1989 identifies student data as state and national assessment results, course taking and completion, as well as credits earned; course grades and grade-point average; date of birth, grade level, attendance and mobility; discipline reports; and demographic data. Student data does not include juvenile delinquency records; criminal records; medical and health records; student Social Security numbers and student biometric information.

HB 1989 so far has received unanimous support. The House of Representatives Government Modernization Committee passed it 12-0 and it passed 87-0 in the House. It is waiting to be heard by the Senate Rules Committee.

Rep. Jason Nelson, a co-author of the bill, said the measure also would require the Education Department to make public what type of information is being collected.