I realize a quite a few activists have been working hard in recent years to advocate for legislation that would protect students from predatory digital learning platforms. Their efforts have taken the form of proposed student data privacy legislation, legislation requiring health considerations be taken into account, and provisions for families to opt out of online learning and data collection. I recognize and appreciate their efforts.

That said, the unfortunate reality is that the special interests pushing digital curriculum have far more resources and access to elected officials than pro-child advocates. Activists have been challenged at every turn by deep-pocketed, ed-tech lobbying interests. Additionally, the bipartisan Commission on Evidence-Based Policy Making has been clearing the way over the past year, working to break down data silos to enable implementation of Pay for Success and Social Impact Bond finance structures in K12 and higher education.

For these reasons, I cannot recommend true dissidents expend time or effort on legislative remedies. Compare the Screen Time and Opt Out bills below, which did not pass, with the Colorado Student Data Privacy law that DID pass. I think you will see the die is cast. Pursue the legislative course, and you will likely be exhausted trying to work within a broken system that never valued children, particularly children of color and the poor. I propose our time is better spent organizing parents and community  members to take direct action exercising our fundamental rights as human beings. Until we demand collectively and in no uncertain terms release from online learning and data-mining, they will continue to use our children as profit centers. Time is short; use it wisely.

Screen Time-Did Not Pass

Maryland House Bill 866: Primary and Secondary Education – Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures – Digital Devices

FOR the purpose of requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in consultation with the State Department of Education, to develop health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms; requiring each county board of education to implement certain health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms beginning in a certain school year; and generally relating to health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms.

See Cindy Eckard’s blog “Screens and Kids” for more information. This is the link to the bill summary.

Opt Out-Did Not Pass

Georgia Senate Bill 281: A bill to be entitled an act to amend Article 19 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to instructional materials and content in elementary and secondary education, so as to require schools to provide certain information to students and parents prior to using any digital-learning platform; to provide for definitions; to provide for destruction of student data collected through a digital-learning platform; to provide the opportunity to opt out; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

See Jane Robbins’s article in the Atlanta Constitution for additional information.

Student Data Privacy-Passed

Colorado House Bill 16-1423: An act concerning measures to maximize trust in the use of student data in the elementary and secondary education system otherwise know as the “Student Data Transparency and Security Act.”

The General Assembly recognizes that, with the increasing use of technology in education, it is imperative that information that identifies individual students and their families is vigilantly protected from misappropriation and misuse that could harm students or their families. The General Assembly also finds, however, that there are many positive ways in which a student’s personally identifiable information may be used to improve the quality of education the student receives and to positively impact the educational and career outcomes that the student achieves. The General Assembly finds, therefore, that student data can be both protected and positively applied by increasing the level of transparency regarding, and specifying and enforcing limitations on the collection, use and storage and destruction of student data.