NJ defends PARCC social media monitoring

By Amanda Oglesby

TRENTON – School leaders may be reading students’ Tweets about the new standardized test, but state education officials say that doesn’t mean their privacy rights are being violated.

State Department of Education officials appeared before the Assembly Education Committee Thursday, where they defended actions aimed at protecting the integrity of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

Some educators reacted with concern for student privacy after the Department of Education acknowledged that the company that administers the PARCC is behind an effort to comb through students’ Facebook and Twitter posts. The resulting explosion of media interest triggered some elected officials to decry the practice and seek answers from department officials.

Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr., the committee’s chairman, sought more information from department officials on why student social media accounts were being monitored for PARCC-related tweets and posts, and whether that monitoring violated student privacy.

“This is very, very disturbing,” said Diegnan, D-Middlesex.