How Do I Protect My Student's Privacy. Part 2
Start by reading Part 1 Here:
by Sue Greenwald, MD
In Part 1 we discussed FERPA, the law that protects personally identifiable information from being released by the schools to anyone without parental permission. The companies selling your child’s data get around that by being “contracted” by the schools for the purpose of collecting data. Those “private” companies (largely owned and supported by leftist ideologues) are not beholden to any privacy laws AT ALL.
The PPRA-Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, video, is a law that protects sensitive information from being gathered at school. The 8 specified sensitive areas are:
● Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
● Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
● Sex behavior or attitudes;
● Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
● Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
● Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
● Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
● Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
Just like FERPA, the PPRA applies to any entity receiving funds from the US Dept of Education, i.e. schools. And just like FERPA, it does not apply to “contractors” hired by the schools to collect the data. The data that they collect on your child’s deepest thoughts, attitudes and beliefs are fair game to be shared or sold in perpetuity.
The most pervasive contractors doing surveys in the schools are Social Emotional Learning companies such as Panorama or Second Step. There are many others with names that are constantly changing, and they have much in common. All are based on a CASEL framework and the objective of CASEL is “to create a more inclusive, just and equitable world”. In other words the goal is to instill a critical theory mindset, aka “woke” indoctrination.
The process of turning SEL data into Social Credit Scores is already underway. A recent survey showed that 59% of hiring managers say they would benefit from knowing a job candidate’s SEL score. (See fact sheet below) Government agencies, financial institutions, and many other entities would love to rely on those Social Credit Scores. Imagine you are a child in school being assigned a score right now. Imagine that 20 years from now you want to apply for a mortgage, buy a gun, or run for public office. Those surveys that you completed in 6th grade may haunt you forever.
You don’t necessarily need to complete a survey for your thoughts to be scored. Many “CASEL compliant” curriculums for core subjects such as science or language arts are also mining data in real time.
Parochial and private schools are not exempt from this intrusive practice. They are being sold on the idea that SEL addresses mental health, and many schools are receiving grants to participate in the courses and surveys. Unfortunately, parents need to be extremely vigilant.
SEL has great marketing, they talk about teaching kids to get along and control their emotions. That lie has been debunked Here. Their online surveys are algorithmic and designed to highlight “problems” in the student population that demand more SEL as a solution. That circular reasoning is what SEL means when they say they are “data driven.” The data they collect on your kids drives their sales.
PPRA demands that parents OPT IN before the enumerated sensitive topics are discussed with their student. That often does not happen. Parents may receive some vaguely worded opt-in form that gets signed along with masses of other paperwork at the beginning of the year, allowing the data mining of students. Some schools have used an OPT OUT form instead. If it does not get returned to administration after your child stuffs it in their backpack, oh well. Remember the data is worth money to the school. They know that complying with PPRA is optional anyway, since a third party “contractor” is collecting the data.
Parents: question everything and don’t sign until you fully understand what a waiver includes. Do not give the school your health insurance information. It is becoming more accepted for schools to do “mental health” and charge your insurance for it. No one should get anywhere near your child’s mental or physical health that you did not choose to do so.
Parents must band together to demand transparency. Most likely your administration will ignore any group smaller than 3, and it is better to have a group of 50. OPT OUT of all surveys and all SEL lessons. Expect resistance to this as opting out costs the school grant money. See Part 1 for the details of #ProjectPineapple and to download the OPT OUT form. (Or scan the QR code below)
Most importantly, teach children to advocate for themselves and their classmates. #ProjectPineapple has a shareable document that can be attached to your refrigerator or carried in a student’s notebook to remind your children of their privacy rights. The .pdf can be printed from the Project Pineapple section at protectnebraskachildren.org. It can also be found on Facebook Here.
Children need to be taught that they DO NOT have to answer personal questions that invade their privacy. They can deflect questions about their pronouns, their religion, their sexuality, their family, even their mood. Make sure they know that the law is on their side. Teach them the phrase “I don’t have to answer that because it is private.” If something makes them feel uncomfortable they should leave the room and call their parent or a trusted adult right away. Make sure you fill out the forms to opt out of any surveys or data collection, and have multiple emergency phone numbers listed on each student file. Discuss with your child who to call if they can’t reach you, and share this information with those people.
We all were brought up to do whatever the teacher says. These days there has to be more discernment by parents, students, and teachers. Most teachers will try to protect children from the worst abuses of their privacy rights if they can. It pains me to say that there may be occasions that will not happen. Your students need to be prepared for those times.
Thank you for sharing Forward Nebraska. Subscribe for free to see our archives and receive new posts. To leave comments and to support our work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.