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    Bethel Citizen: School Board opposes state’s use of student social security numbers

    The Bethel Citizen reports on opposition to a plan in Maine to use Social Security numbers to track the educational data of public school students.

    The law (LD1356), passed in 2009, is intended to help track the performance of students before and after graduation, by linking student information between the DOE and the Department of Labor. The project, known as the Maine Statewide Longitudinal Data System, identifies the occupations of former students whose social security numbers are in employment records. The purpose is to evaluate and improve education programs.

    The local school board opposes the program and has voted that the school district must “clearly explain to parents this fall that they are not required to allow the district to report the numbers to the state.” Chairman Sid Pew said, “I think it’s an invasion of privacy,”

    While the DOE can require districts to collect and report SS numbers, children’s numbers are reported only if parents opt into the program. The law states specifically that an explanation of this be included when requesting parental consent. […]

    In a written description of his rationale on the issue, Pew noted, “As a board we must ask parents to refrain from handing over children’s social security numbers. Attaching a child’s social security number to their achievements and other information is a violation of their privacy.”

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