Longitudinal Data Systems


>>Overview of State Longitudinal Data Systems (2012-07) VEC r2<<

Executive Summary

A nationalized education system that is “efficient,” “cost-effective,” and helps assess the role of education in “workforce readiness”– like that advocated by the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) – requires an integrated data system to collect, report, analyze, and act on individual student and workplace performance data.  While no such national system currently exists today, an integrated, national system is being built component-by-component by the States through Department of Education (DOE) grants and programs and participation in national standards organizations. Once each State completes its own SLDS, “national” system integration will be a simple task.  It will also circumvent current law and the intent of Congress.  The system is being “built” by the DOE using the same tactics used to nationalize the United States educational curriculum using the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  These tactics stand in direct opposition to federal ( i.e., 20 U.S.C. Chapter 70, Subchapter IX, Part E, Subpart2: other provisions) that prevent the Department of Education from either maintaining or mandating a national student database that contains personally identifiable information.

Virginia Education Coalition (VEC) opposes the DOE’s back-door nationalization of a student’s individual private data for the following reasons:

  • DOE is circumventing      current law and bypassing Congress in its Constitutional role of authoring and passing new law.
  • A large, centralized federal government is not about “efficiency, effectiveness, and workplace readiness.”  It is about laws, regulations, wealth redistribution, and enforcement which, by the very nature of large government, trade personal individual liberty and free market economics for bureaucracy and dependency.
  • Personal information, in the wrong hands, can be used for other than honorable purposes.  Recent examples include (1)      revelations that the federal government is spying on its own people without warrant (the Patriot Act and PRISM) and (2) selective vetting by the IRS of conservative, non-profit organizations that do not fit the current Administration’s agenda.

VEC believes in efficiency, effectiveness, and workplace readiness, but thinks this is the purview of private enterprise.  History shows us that when government tries to directly intervene in the free market, the result is best described by the law of intended consequences. To preclude this from happening with personal private information collected through the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS), the Commonwealth of Virginia should enact laws, consistent with its state Constitution and Bill of Rights (the Virginia Declaration of Rights) that absolutely preclude the VDOE from communicating to third-parties of any kind, any personal, private, individually identifiable information that is collected by the State as part of its responsibility to analyze, design, develop, implement, and regulate K-12, secondary, and post-secondary public and private education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.   De facto, this means that Virginia’s acceptance of federal grants or coordination with standards making bodies such as the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) or the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) standards would be contingent upon these standards accommodating Virginia’s privacy laws.