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Education Reporter

Education Briefs 
Confidential records of "tens of thousands" of California children were publicly accessible due to a software flaw in the Online Assessment Reporting System (OARS) used by the San Francisco Unified School District. The system stores student names, state test scores, ID numbers and special programs enrollment as well as "compile[s] student information and create[s] mandated reports that teachers must prepare on their students." OARS is used in 96 California school districts. SFUSD closed access to the system "after receiving complaints that anyone could access confidential information with generic passwords issued to teachers." (Associated Press/San Jose Mercury, 10-24-2005)

ID cards to remedy identity theft "may actually aggravate the problem" and "have the potential to increase fraudulent behaviour," according to a 2005 study by British criminologist Emily Finch. Regarding the use of "chip and pin," Finch says these measures have "not stopped fraud or even reduced it. It has altered the way people behave, and so fraudsters have just changed their strategies." (telegraph.co.uk, 9-5-2005)

Home schoolers on federal data collections radar. The Sept. 9, 2005 revision to the U.S. Department of Educationís NCES Student Data Handbook added element number 1140: "Home Schooled" with the definition: "An indication that the student is receiving educational instruction offered in a home environment, as required by local and state law, for reasons other than health."

Three elementary schools in New Jerseyís Freehold Borough School District require parents, teachers, and staff to submit to iris scanning in order to enter the school. Funded by a $369,000 school safety grant through the National Institute of Justice, a research arm of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the technology "provides entry-access controls, visitor management, and the capability to scan a driverís license from any state and automatically import the information into the database." (TechWeb.com, 1-23-2006)

February 2006 Education Reporter
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Education Reporter is published monthly by Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund with editorial offices at 7800 Bonhomme Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105, (314) 721-1213. The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the persons quoted and should not be attributed to Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund. Annual subscription $25. Back issues available at $2.
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