Friday, November 21, 2014

Is Gov. Jindal Breaking the Law?


Below is an important national alert from The People LLC in Louisiana, 11/20/2014. It is reproduced in its entirety. The original is posted HERE. Please spread the word about what is happening! 

During the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session, the legislature unanimously passed Act 837 which provides the strongest student privacy protections in the nation.  The main objective of the law is to keep students' Personally Identifiable Information (PII) at the school district level. 

Additionally, the law provides for Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) to replace the use of social security numbers in student records. Parents all over the state felt that this was necessary due to the careless actions of the state’s own Superintendent of Education, Mr. John White, who actually gave student social security numbers to a Third Party Vendor.  The state Department of Education (DOE) is charged with assigning the Unique Identification Numbers to the districts so that duplicate numbers will not be used.  The districts are then charged with assigning the UIN to each student.
On October 1st of 2014, Governor Jindal’s Division of Administration (DOA) issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) on behalf of the DOE claiming the system that is described in the RFP is required to comply with Act 837. 

But a funny thing happened on the way to the RFP.  Somehow, the law has been ignored and instead of requesting just a "Number System," the RFP actually asks for a “Unique Identifier System”.  The Unique Number System that was envisioned by the Act is one which simply creates a system of unique numbers that are put in batches and distributed to the school districts.  
Louisiana Gov. Jindal

In the governor’s RFP, that straightforward system has now been replaced with a Unique Identifier System.  The system that the DOA and the DOE intend to build will require that our children's PII be maintained at the state level rather than locked-down at the school district level.   

Two additional concerns are that, according to the RFP, students' PII will be housed in a "Master Person Index"  and it will be maintained by a THIRD PARTY VENDOR.  Under the RFP, this Vendor will actually be considered a “school official” and shall be granted access to our children’s educational records.  The RFP also states that the contractor may share those records for “educational purposes," as long as the party they share that information with will promise to keep it confidential!

Do the governor's DOA and its collaborators think that "getting around the law" by giving our kids' data to an INBLOOM-TYPE ENTITY is what is in the best interest of the citizens of this state?!?

From the RFP:
“To the extent that Contractor has access to “education records” under this     Contract, it is deemed a “school official,” as each of these terms are defined under FERPA. Contractor agrees that it shall not use education records for any purpose other than in the performance of this Contract. Except as required by law, Contractor shall not disclose or share education records with any Third Party unless permitted by the terms of this Contract or to Contracted Personnel unless they have agreed to maintain the confidentiality of the education records to the same extent required of Contractor under this Contract.”

But wait, it actually gets better.  It seems that a state system to provide student ID numbers to the school districts already exists.  In fact, it was established by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the DOE in 1992! 

Since the new law requires that a number system be established, why didn’t anyone from the governor’s administration mention throughout the bill drafting process, committee hearings or floor discussions in either chamber that Louisiana already has a system established since 1992 to assign identification numbers to students? 

From the SIS User Guide (Introduction):
“During the June 1992 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting, Bulletin 741 was revised to include a requirement that all students present an official Social Security Card upon entry into Louisiana schools for the first time or be assigned an official State identification number.”
 The fact is the districts were never REQUIRED to use student social security numbers.

The larger fact is that, in the RFP issued by the governor's DOA, we have a snapshot of what it looks like when our administration is determined to harvest our children's Personally Identifiable Data at all costs and in direct contravention to the law.  This RFP actually claims that Act 837 requires it!

Do Governor Jindal and John White really think that they are above the law?

Stay tuned as there is more to follow.  Please, share this post with all of your contacts and on social media.  Please, also consider (and ask your contacts to consider) donating to our efforts as we fight against this agenda.