Is Gov. Jindal Breaking the Law?

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Charlotte Thomson IserbytIS GOVERNOR JINDAL’S OWN ADMINISTRATION CONSPIRING TO BREAK 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!

handshakeDuring 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

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.