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Connecticut Education Association News Release

Data protection

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on the Need to Protect Children and Families from Data Mining

January 21, 2016

With the onslaught of big data in public education, there is urgency to the issue of personal privacy. Breaches can happen. Students can be affected for a lifetime. The potential for damage is huge.

Today's CEA's Student Data Minefield Forum is very important to students, parents, and teachers because a wild-west climate has sprung up around big data in public education. We need a sheriff in terms of regulations and state oversight. There is no underestimating the potential for harm.

Corporate reformers are behind the scourge of private student data mining as a way to obtain critical information about students, parents, and schools as a means to minimize public education and privatize it. The issue has made states across the country take protective action and the Connecticut Education Association is hopeful that state legislators will follow suit and protect student and family privacy.

We are pleased that the education chairs plan to introduce a bill focusing on the issue of student data privacy. Private sector data mining has exploded in many facets of our lives and has now reached our children and our public schools. State lawmakers cannot ignore this problem and we urge them to act during the session to protect our most vulnerable citizens—our children.

Connecticut is among a minority of states that have yet to enact legislation pertaining to the protection and use of student data, leaving our children and families inadequately protected. We are hopeful that our forum will help educate legislators on the need to stand up and fight for commonsense protections that can prevent student privacy from being compromised and exploited.

The Connecticut Education Association represents 43,000 teachers in Connecticut.

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