Are Homeschool Student Records at Public Schools Secure?

Are homeschool student records at public schools secure?

homeschool student records
at public schools

You should consider this question,
especially if you’ve chosen to file paperwork
to access public school services.

Homeschool Iowa's advocacy roles, 
championing homeschooling freedoms
and helping families 
respond to public school overreach,
are crucially related to this issue.

In Iowa, homeschooling parents must file a Competent Private Instruction (CPI) Form A to request dual enrollment access to public school classes, extracurricular activities, and/or services.

If a school district offers a Home School Assistance Program, parents must file the CPI Form A and supply any additional information requested by the school to access the HSAP.

Are homeschool student records
at public schools secure?

Many Iowa public schools do store homeschool student records online.

What Information
is the Public School Collecting?

The Iowa Code does give public schools permission to collect very specific data from those who chose to file the CPI Form A.

However, to further complicate this issue, many public schools have been transitioning to online records with the assistance of the Department of Education. Because some school staff members are so highly focused on these digital platforms, Homeschool Iowa is now receiving reports  from homeschool parents who are being told they must complete the online enrollment process used for fully-enrolled students before dual enrollment access will be granted.

Even though the Iowa Code directs that CPI Form A filing is the means for homeschooling parents to access public school services, these digitally-focused school districts are mandating that parents supply additional vital information, like Social Security numbers and medical data.

Has this happened to you?
If so, please let us know

Some reports have come from parents who are only filing the CPI Form A because it is the legally-prescribed means to access certain college level coursework. Their students would not even be in the public school building, but the district was requiring digital completion of all the information requested of fully enrolled students.

In any case, at minimum, all parents filing a basic CPI Form A with the public school are providing the school district with vital personal information, like the student’s name, birthdate, parents’ names, and home address.

Are homeschool student records
at public schools secure?

Cyber attacks do affect Iowa homeschool student records at public schools.

Are Cyber Attacks on Public Schools 
Happening in Iowa?

As all of this information is gathered and increasingly stored on online platforms, parents should rightfully be concerned about data security.

A recent federally funded nonprofit cybersecurity report revealed that 29% of surveyed K-12 schools reported being victims of a cyber incident affecting student and staff records.

This report also noted that the average school spends less than 8% of its IT budget on cybersecurity, while one out of five commit less than 1%.

Many of these cyber incidents are ransomware attacks that have affected an estimated 5 million U.S. students, with numbers continually rising.

Are these cyber attacks only happening in other states? Are we safe in Iowa?

While Iowa school districts are not required by law to notify the public of details when these incidents occur, a significant number have occurred in our state.

We've discovered reports of cyber and ransomware attacks on public school digital records in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Glenwood, Davenport, and several other Iowa school districts.

We must conclude, therefore,
that our question,
"Are homeschool student records
at the public school secure?"
cannot be answered with a confident "Yes."

Homeschool Iowa advocates to assure that homeschool student records at the public school are secure.

What Can We Do
to Protect Our Privacy?

As these incidents continue to occur,
Homeschool Iowa is
focusing on efforts to protect
Iowa homeschool families’
privacy and freedoms.

One of our top priorities is to keep Independent Private Instruction as an option for parents who want to take full responsibility for their children’s education without interference or burdensome data collection by the public school system.

Our Homeschool Iowa Advocacy Team has also urged the Department of Education to assist Iowa school districts in creating separate digital tracks for homeschool student CPI Form A registration, limited to only the legally-defined data that must be supplied to access public school services.

We will also continue to advocate for homeschooling families who are being asked by the public school system to supply more than the Iowa law and rules allow.

Homeschool Iowa needs the support of homeschooling families across the state to sustain and continue these efforts. Are you a Homeschool Iowa member? Partner with us to preserve and protect homeschool freedoms in Iowa!


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