STAT and Security

Baltimore County Public schools Policy 5230 will be discussed at the May 10, 2016 Board of Education meeting.  You can read an excerpt below and you can read the entire BCPS Policy 5230 here.

“Statement of Issues or Questions Addressed

In accordance with Board of Education Policy and Superintendent’s Rule 8130, Policy 5230 is scheduled for review in school year 2015–2016. Policy 5230 outlines the Board’s responsibility to recognize the rights of parents to review and inspect their child’s student records and to maintain student records in accordance with federal and state law and regulations. The Policy Review Committee recommended that the policy be revised to: (1) recognize the right of parents to verify the deletion of their child’s student data; and (2) conform with the Policy Review Committee’s editing conventions.”

These comments about Policy 5230 are written by Russ Kuehn, parent and stakeholder in Baltimore County Public Schools.

1. There are a large number for referenced documents, having read or reviewed most of them, I believe BCPS needs to provide an actual document that outlines all the pieces of the privacy policy/program they intend to follow. This needs to include discussions around data security and steps that will be taken to provide that security.

2. After reviewing the documents, I am still unable to determine exactly what access 3rd party companies have to children’s data. What are the specific safeguards that BCPS is putting in place to make sure that these companies are responsible and have a fiduciary duty to do the “right thing” regarding breach issues and data loss.

3. Third party providers need to be restricted to not collect, disseminate or use information regarding children outside of providing direct access to their products. The tracking and “learning profile” they will naturally record, are property of the student, the parents, and to the extent required to provide an education, BCPS.

4. The federal government has the privacy act that governs how data is handled regarding individuals. Each federal system is accompanied by a systems of record notice (SORN) whereby citizens can review and comment during the process. Citizens also have the ability to challenge and correct erroneous information in their records. This act is not applicable to states. This is unfortunate, putting states and localities on their own to work their way through providing privacy that is appropriate and citizen centered. I do not know enough about Maryland State Laws to understand what is and is not allowable, but it should be VERY clear in the BCPS document.

Privacy is something that people are only starting to understand, and technology is clearly bringing these concerns to the forefront. I would suggest that BCPS focus on how to protect their records and really make sure that contractually NO THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS have any rights to data gleaned from doing business with our school system.

It is clear that everyone involved is focused on providing a high quality education to our children. I applaud that goal, and will work to support it. I believe the pace of change within BCPS has picked up significantly with the introduction of BCPS-STAT and with that, the risk of data loss or misuse has also increased. We need to be mindful and protect this information while striving to integrate technology further into the classroom.

Thank you for your time.

Russ Kuehn

Please consider contacting the Board of Education (and other County and State officials) to express your opinions about how important this issue is to the families of Baltimore County.


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