Fordham Law

CLIP Director Joel Reidenberg Testifies in Congressional Hearing on Data Privacy

April 14, 2010

Fordham Law Professor Joel Reidenberg, Director of the Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP), testified before Congress on April 14 during a hearing on "How Data Can be Used to Inform Educational Outcomes." Reidenberg's testimony drew largely from CLIP's influential October 2008 report, "Children's Educational Records and Privacy: A Study of Elementary and Secondary School State Reporting Systems," which has been cited by federal and state government officials and national media including the Washington Post.  

"[W]e launched the Fordham CLIP study to determine what existed across the country at the state level, to assess whether states were protecting the privacy of the children's information in these databases and to make best practices and legislative reform recommendations as appropriate," Reidenberg stated during his testimony.

"I seek to highlight the critical need for policy makers to incorporate privacy rules in the planning and implementation of these systems so that the important and legitimate goals of educational accountability do not undermine privacy and so that the important and legitimate privacy concerns do not pose unnecessary obstacles to educational accountability," he continued.

The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee held the hearing to examine how the use of data systems in schools across the country can help improve education outcomes.

"No conversation about educational data systems would be complete without a discussion of student privacy," said Representative John Kline. "Research indicates not nearly enough is being done to safeguard our students' records."

Congressman Kline introduced Reidenberg as a professor "who's been at the forefront in examining the privacy implications of longitudinal data systems."

Congressman George Miller, Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, later added, "Mr. Reidenberg, absolutely you raise issues that every member on this committee shares and is passionate about…you are right, we want to know how [the data] is being used and for what purposes.”

The committee is holding a series of hearings as part of a bipartisan, transparent effort to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind.

View photos of the testimony.

Watch video of the testimony.

Read Rep. Kline's opening statement.

Read Rep. Kline's press release.