The Big Congressional Data Grab Is Underway

By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Truth in American Education:

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Foundations for Evidenced-Based Policymaking Act today which will create a national data clearinghouse that includes student data. Co-sponsors of the legislation also include House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX), and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

This bill follows the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking’s final report who recommended what Ryan argued for “a transparent, efficient, and well-designed data system that is both accessible by federal agencies and secure for those who contribute.”

The key takeaways from the report are:

  • Security, Privacy, and Confidentiality: The report outlines recommendations for improving access to data that protects peoples’ privacy without sacrificing the information sought in the process. The commission also outlines protections to modernize the process. This means Americans enrolled in government programs can maintain their privacy while benefitting the greater goal.
  • Modernizing Data Infrastructure: The commission recommends building upon and enhancing the expertise and infrastructure to ensure secure record linkage and data access. This would increase transparency and better enable policymakers—and the public—to hold government programs accountable.
  • Strengthened Capacity: Privacy and accessibility are key, but so is ensuring the evidence-building community has the manpower it needs. By establishing administrative and program requirements within the federal government, evidence-based efforts will become a central part of both evaluating current programs and policies of the future.