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Changes to October 1, 2010 Student Data Collection
INFORMATIONAL LETTER: 32
TO: Superintendents of Schools
The Maine Department of Education will delay the submission to the State of student Social Security numbers, which was to begin as early as Friday, October 1.
As you are aware, the voluntary collection of student Social Security numbers has become controversial in some Maine communities as privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the security of the information. We take these concerns very seriously and want to take adequate precautions to assure appropriate security systems are in place.
On September 24, an error within a secondary system not connected to the collection of student information was discovered. The error affected information in the Staff Module of the State Edition of the Infinite Campus information system, and allowed authorized users of the system to see information there that should have been restricted.
While the Maine Department of Education remains confident in the security of the system used to collect student data, including voluntarily submitted Social Security numbers, we also understand the importance of public confidence in that system.
We have immediately put in place the following changes:
It is important to know that only people with authorization to access Infinite Campus were able to view the restricted information, and that the Staff Module of the Infinite Campus State Edition is separate from all other modules in the database and is in the final stages of development and not scheduled to be used for staff data collection until the Fall of 2011.
However, please note that the annual October 1 student data submission is critical for calculations of Essential Programs and Services; and please be assured that these calculations can be done without the student Social Security numbers.
The Department takes the security of private information seriously, and supports school boards, parents and school officials in their caution with respect to the collection of data.
We will be in contact with SAU data coordinators with specific details on how to use the amended software scripts for submitting the October 1 student data. If you have any questions, please contact Brian Snow, Education Data Manager, at Brian.Snow@Maine.gov or 624-6840.
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