Mercedes Schneider here examines the Data Quality Campaign.

Why is there so much demand for student data? Why now?

As she explains,

Corporate education reform is designed to turn profits for privatizers. That said, in corporate reform, there are two huge money makers that will ”outprofit” all other profiteering: standardized testing, and data sales and storage.

The two are inextricable. Consider the mandates for state participation in Race to the Top (RTTT). In order to compete for RTTT funding, states were required to demonstrate both a standardized testing dependence and establishment of a “statewide longitudinal data system.”

While the federal government insists that reform is being driven “by the states,” it is clear that the USDOE is actively clearing the way for reforms that it supports, one of which is the collecting of an unprecedented amount of data on America’s school children.

There are many funders of this unprecedented effort to collect data about the nation’s children.

But why?

When I was Assistant Secretary of the Office of Educational Research and Innovation in the early 1990s, I was often called upon to respond to parents who wrote to ask why the federal government was collecting data about their children. They thought that NAEP was the vehicle. I responded by saying that there was no such data collection, and all this was rumor and speculation and untrue.

But now it is fact. It is real. There will be a national database in which children have unique identifiers, and in which the uses of this information are unclear.

Again: Why?

This is an issue that transcends political parties or ideology. Teachers are not permitted to disclose personal information about their students. Why is it being collected? For what purpose? For whose purpose? Shouldn’t parental consent be necessary?