January 15, 2014 | Vol.54 N.3

Rep. Elizabeth Scott introduces student privacy measure in Olympia

Rep. Elizabeth Scott introduces student privacy measure in Olympia

'Parents and students have a right to know what data is being shared and with whom,' says Scott

Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe, introduced a student privacy bill this week, the first week of the 2014 legislative session.

Her bipartisan proposal, House Bill 2133, would require the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) to conduct a thorough study of how students in Washington state are having their personally identifiable information released without their approval or knowledge. The full report would need to be submitted to the Legislature by Sept. 1, 2014.

"Parents and students have a right to know what data is being shared and with whom," said Scott, who serves as the assistant ranking Republican on the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee. "Their knowledge and consent should absolutely be required before releasing any personal information data to the government or anyone else. This bill is the first step in identifying the extent to which student data is being released so that we can address this issue in subsequent legislation if need be."

Scott's bill, which received a public hearing this week in the House Education Committee, includes the following language:

"The legislature affirms that students have a right to privacy for their educational records. The legislature finds that in an effort to standardize and nationalize K-12 education the federal government has demonstrated a disregard for student privacy rights, including through amendments to administrative regulations under the family educational rights and privacy act that broaden access to student records without the written consent of students and their parents or guardians. The legislature also finds that Washington state's participation in the multistate smarter balanced assessment consortium that is developing common academic assessments may further threaten the privacy rights of Washington state students."

"The federal privacy law was expanded in 2011 without congressional approval or oversight," said Scott, R-Monroe. "It was done through action taken by the Department of Education and amounts to a significant increase in the type and amount of information the government, and potentially others, now have access to. With the increase in identity theft, online stalking and other identification concerns, we need to get a handle on this at the state level and quickly."

The 2014 legislative session began Monday, Jan. 13 and is scheduled for 60 days.

PHOTO CAPTION: Rep. Elizabeth Scott testifies in the House Education Committee in support of her student privacy bill.

For more information about Rep. Scott, visit: www.representativeelizabethscott.com.

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