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June 27th, 2013

Protect High School Students’ Privacy Rights – ASVAB Test Option 8

The militarization of youth always finds its way into public high schools. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is one effective method the US Military uses to gain students’ personal information. The ASVAB was developed by the military, is introduced to high school administrators as a Career Exploration Program, and freely offered to junior and senior HS students. The main purpose of the ASVAB is to obtain student information which can be used for profiling and potential future recruitment.

When a student takes the test, his/her privacy rights are compromised. The New York State Coalition to Protect Student Privacy (NYCPSP) is working to end the release of students’ personal information unless a waiver has been signed by a parent to release such information when the ASVAB test is given.

In NY State, 14,426 11th and 12th grade students took the test during the 2010-2011 school year. Along with test scores, schools release personal information about students including social security number, ethnicity, skills, interests, and contact information to military recruiters.

The only way to protect the privacy of NY State students and insure that test scores and personal information will not be furnished to the military without parental consent, is to require school administrators to select release ‘Option 8’ on the test. That Option will prohibit the release of student information to military recruiters.

Currently, in NYS, most schools simply default to Options 1-6 which permit the release of data during the school term. We are working to ensure that all NY State high schools default to Option 8, leaving the decision to share test results and accompanying private information with military recruiters solely in the hands of students and their parents.

The New York City Department of Education Chancellor’s Regulation A-825, Fall, 2009, implemented the requirement for all high schools to default to Option 8 for students who choose to take the ASVAB test. Why should the students of New York State, or any state, fall victim to the loss of privacy due to lack of understanding of the available options concerning release of private information from the test?

We ask you to take on the issue of students’ privacy rights and advocate for a policy to protect families and students who take the ASVAB test in your state. In New York, send comments to Commissioner of Education Dr. John B. King and Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch urging a state-wide Regulation, already in place in New York City. (1,2)

Let us not deny families and students the right to privacy to which they are entitled.   Urging our education officials to protect students’ rights and enact a policy that requires the selection of Release Option 8 for all students who take the ASVAB in NY State public high schools is the right thing for us to do for our children. We owe it to them.

More info: www.studentprivacy.org

– Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

1) Commissioner of Education John B. King:  nysedp12@mail.nysed.gov
2) Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch:  RegentTisch@mail.nysed.gov

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