Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has signed a new bill that’s intended to deter identify thieves, as well as quell concerns from parents.
House Bill 1076, signed last month, mandates that public school students in Louisiana will receive unique identification numbers to replace the Social Security numbers, which are currently on students’ academic files. The bill was drawn into the debate following the fear that student information forms that accompany the state’s Common Core tests would be vulnerable to data breaches.
In a statement following the bill’s signing, Governor Jindal stressed that children and parents should not have to fear the exposure of private, personal information when they enroll in school, and that House Bill 1076 helps prevent such abuses.
Louisiana public schools and school districts have collected the personal information of its students, including Social Security numbers, ethnicity, date of birth, family income indicators, medical issues, attendance and other information for years. The Social Security number has long been a mainstay of personal academic records that colleges once used Social Security numbers as student identification numbers, requiring them for checking out library books and registering for classes.
Amid identity theft concerns, higher education has long since steered away from this practice, and it seems time for the K-12 to make the transition to unique identification numbers as well.
HB1076 prohibits local public schools from requiring the collection of certain student data without parental consent. Beginning May 1, 2015, the state if Louisiana must develop a system for unique student identification numbers, with every student in the public school system receiving a number by June 1, 2015.
According to State Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington – a sponsor of the bill – a $1 million grant will help cover the costs of developing and implementing the new system.