The Missouri Education Watchdog blog has collected some frightening news: There is a bipartisan push, funded by the Gates Foundation, to create a national database for every citizen, violating the privacy of every one of us. Until now, this has been illegal. Gates and his allies want to lift the ban.


For anyone who has ever filled out a college application, or scholarship or grant application, you know the incredible amount of personal information these forms require. What if there was a massive database that combined and shared not only all of that personal information, but also answers from surveys you took over the years, social media posts you made, information normally kept protected and isolated in agencies like the Social Security Administration, Health and Human Services, HUD, IRS, and the US Census Bureau. This kind of database, linking (and sharing) data across agencies, with a profile on each individual citizen is something that countries like China has, but it is not legal in the US, currently.


This database is about to happen, not for you parents, but for your kids, starting with students in college.


Who wants it? Bill Gates; Booz Allen and Hamilton; Congressman Paul Ryan; Senator Patti Murray. And the many other corporations who want to pry into the lives of Americans.


There has been a push to create this type of database to track and link student data across agencies for years, and has always been rejected due to privacy or cost concerns. However, this year, a special commission, (created by the passage of this law, HR1381–jointly sponsored by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and signed by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2016), has convened for the purpose of lifting the ban on this national database, that they refer to as the student unit record. For background on the push for a national student database/unit record, see this 2013 HigherEd publication where they hoped to lift this ban and link the data, with a previous bill:


“The previous version of the bill called for stitching together state longitudinal databases in order to better track students — a project that some observers said would be technically difficult, perhaps unworkable and take years to accomplish, but which would also avoid confronting a federal ban on a national unit record system.
A unit record database has long been the holy grail for many policy makers, who argue that collecting data at the federal level is the only way to get an accurate view of postsecondary education. But privacy advocates, private colleges and Congressional Republicans, all of whom oppose the creation of such a database, teamed up in opposition the last time the idea was proposed, by the Bush administration in 2005. Then, the opponents succeeded; the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act included a provision specifically forbidding the creation of a federal unit record data system…


An increasing number of groups, including some federal panels, have called for a federal unit record system since 2006: the Education Department’s advisory panel on accreditation, last year; the Committee on Measures of Student Success, in 2011; and nearly every advocacy group and think tank that wrote white papers earlier this year for a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on rethinking financial aid.


A federal system, those groups agree, is the only way to accurately measure student success. It would allow the Education Department to account for part-time students, transfers and others not currently captured in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the clearinghouse of data colleges report to the federal government. And, through linkage with Social Security or other databases, it could track graduates’ wages more accurately than is currently possible.


The Obama administration — unable to create a federal unit record database — has offered states money to construct longitudinal databases of their own, including funding in the 2009 stimulus bill. Nearly all states now have, or are developing, some version of a [ K12, SLDS] database to track students throughout their educational careers.”


Do you value your privacy? Do you want to stop the government and corporations from knowing everything about our lives, from cradle to grave? Read the post in its entirety and then contact Leonie Haimson of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy.