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This Week in Student Privacy: 12/2

Common Core Opponents Claim COPPA Offers “Opt Out Loophole”
According to Politico’s Morning Education, “[p]arents organizing against PARCC's [Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers] new Common Core tests believe they've found a powerful tool: The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 [COPPA].” Two groups opposed to the tests, the Network for Public Education and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, “are urging parents to contact Pearson, which will be administering the PARCC exam, and demand the company stop collecting information about their children, citing the law.” Neither Pearson nor the United States Department of Education has offered an opinion on the viability of the alleged loophole. For more information on the Opt Out movement, visit United Opt Out and Student Privacy Matters. For more information about COPPA from the Federal Trade Commission, visit Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. For more information on this story, visit Tuscon Weekly.

Social Media App Yik Yak Causes Controversy
In recent weeks, incidents involving violent threats and the ‘anonymous’ social media app Yik Yak have led to several school closures and arrests. For example, “in Manhattan Beach, Calif., classes at Mira Costa High School were suspended because of vague threats against the school on Yik Yak.” In addition, eleven college students this semester alone at universities across the United States have been “charged for threats of violence posted to Yik Yak.”

The Data Quality Campaign Releases New Resource
The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) recently released a new resource on teacher preparation programs. DQC resources are available to download on the DQC website, free of charge.

Additional Articles/Resources

  • Politico’s Caitlin Emma wrote an article on “the flood of personal data about teenage students” from massive open online courses “flowing to private companies, thanks to loopholes in federal privacy laws.”
  • The Korea Times published a piece about Microsoft’s commitment to student privacy.
  • Tuscon Weekly published a piece on opting out of Common Core testing through the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA).
  • Education Week published a piece on University of California - Los Angeles professor of education and information studies Noel Enyedy’s conclusion “that education technology deployed in the name of personalized instruction yields modest improvements in educational outcomes, at best, in some cases, and none at all in others.”

This update was compiled by Hannah Offer. Hannah is a senior at the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences and a research assistant for the Student Privacy Initiative.

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Student Privacy Initiative

The Student Privacy Initiative-- part of the Center's growing suite of Privacy Initiatives-- aims to surface, identify, and evaluate central privacy issues and opportunities that…