Keansburg School District

March 27, 2015

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New Bill Aims to Protect Student Data Privacy

Body Student data privacy is in the spotlight today with the imminent introduction of a bipartisan bill aiming to limit the use of student data gathered by education technology companies.

As digital education tools are proliferating in classrooms, many districts lack the resources and staff to properly gauge and monitor technology vendors’ security practices. The U.S. Department of Education attempted to mitigate this shortfall by providing model terms of service for schools to use when considering online services or educational apps. Yet, some vendors are seeking to provide services directly to individual teachers—instead of whole schools—potentially skirting current federal privacy policies, which have yet to keep up with the digital environment of today’s classrooms where students read textbooks, watch tutorials, take tests, and play educational games—all online.

The bill, to be introduced by Reps. Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO), has garnered support for being a step in the right direction and for implementing a ban on the use of personally identifiable data to target advertisements at students. It has, however, already received pushback from privacy advocates who argue that the bill has too many loopholes, allowing ed tech companies to continue mining mass amounts of data on student users that could be sold to universities or potential employers. Student data privacy has also been part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization debate in the House, with an education subcommittee hearing focused on the topic and a proposed amendment to H.R.5 representing Congress’s belief that protecting student information is important. Lastly, 125 ed tech companies recently signed a voluntary pledge to safeguard student privacy, attempting to fill in the gaps that federal law has yet to address.

Although the impending bill serves to further crucial conversations about student privacy, whether it will gather the support necessary to make it to the House floor remains to be seen.


PARCC Test Fairness and Security

The PARCC states are committed to secure testing because fair tests are essential to better preparing the next generation for success. How do the states protect the fairness and validity of the PARCC test?

The states contract with a test vendor to search social media and websites for images or words from live tests, which are copyright infringements and jeopardize the fairness of the test for all students.

Sharing images of test items via Twitter, Instagram, or other public social media sites - or posting basic information about test items - is today's equivalent of photocopying a test and passing it out on the schoolhouse steps. Cell phones are not allowed in the testing session and test administrators are instructed to tell all students before the test that sharing any test question online is prohibited.

The PARCC states' policy follows the best practices outlined by the Council of Chief State School Officers, which recommends that there should be "procedures to monitor the internet and social websites before, during and after test administration for any evidence the items and/or answers have been shared" online. In order to maintain test security, each PARCC state contracted with its test vendor, Pearson, to search for any live PARCC test questions that are shared through public social media sites. This is standard practice for large-scale tests including ACT and SAT.

Student Data Privacy and Security

Student data privacy and security are critically important to the PARCC states and its member states, which have adopted a Data Privacy and Security Policy and implemented a rigorous set of policies and guidelines to protect student privacy and the security of data.


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Last week the Board of Education adopted a tentative budget for the 2015-2016 school year. The two largest components are salaries & benefits (63.3% of the budget in 2014-2015). This tentative budget is based on several estimates and assumptions available at the time.

The District's insurance broker, Brown & Brown, is "shopping" the District's coverage in the open market. While we are still awaiting numbers from several carriers, the estimate at this time is a double-digit percentage increase in premiums projected for the 2015-2016 school year. The rates for vision insurance and dental insurance will not change for next year.

Continuing with last year's progression of the Ch. 78 law enacted in 2011, all employees who have district health benefits will be paying towards their benefits according to “Year 4” on the attached schedules. For each employee, the percentage contribution depends on his or her salary and the level of benefits (i.e., family or single).

Open enrollment will take place during June, at which time you can switch plans if you choose. You can also opt out at any time, as long as proof of other coverage is provided.

If you have individual plan or benefit questions, you can always callBrown & Brown Benefit Advisors at (800) 811-4122.

For other benefit-related questions, please call Margaret Lafoe at extension 2352 or email her at

For payroll-related inquiries (deductions, timesheets, etc.), please contact Dan Castles at extension 2440 or



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