Education Framework Blog

Focused on the Future of Education in America

Bend company’s software helps schools

We were featured in our local newspaper today. Check it out...

“We deal with education every day as parents,” Jim Onstad, president & co-Founder of Education Framework, said. “And we wanted to be able to do our part to make sure our kids were learning in a safe, secure, private environment.”

From there, the software start-up Education Framework was born. Onstad’s company offers several services, but he said the overarching goal was simple: to streamline the parental consent process for schools while making the whole experience as transparent as possible.

Privacy Advocates Feel Proposed Student Data Privacy Bill Does Little to Protect Privacy

Key privacy advocates argue that the student privacy draft bill, proposed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) doesn't do much to actually protect privacy. 

The draft Polis-Messer bill is called the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act. But Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters, said in a piece on the Student Privacy Matters Web site that the bill addresses virtually none of the concerns that parents have about what is being done with data about their children.

  • Parents would not be able to delete any of the personal information obtained by a vendor from their children, even upon request, unless the data resulted from an “optional” feature of the service chosen by the parent and not the district or school.

  • The bill creates a huge loophole that actually could weaken existing privacy law by allowing vendors to collect, use or disclose personal student information in a manner contrary to their own privacy policy or their contract with the school or district, as long as the company obtains consent from the school or district.  It is not clear in what form that consent could be given, whether in an email or phone call, but even if a parent was able to obtain the school’s contract or see the vendor’s privacy policy, it could provide false reassurance if it turns out the school or district had secretly given permission to the company to ignore it.

  • Vendors would be able to redisclose students’ personal information to an unlimited number of additional third parties, as long as these disclosures were made for undefined “K12 purposes.”

  • Vendors would be able to redisclose individual student’s de-identified or aggregate information for any reason or to anyone, without restrictions or safeguards to ensure that the child’s information could not be easily re-identified through widely available methods.

  • Read full article here >

    The Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act

    In an effort to ease parent and teacher concerns, two congressmen plan to introduce a bill that would place limits on how education technology companies can use information about kindergarten through 12th-grade students.

    The Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, a bill that would prohibit companies that operate school services from knowingly using or disclosing students’ personal information to tailor advertisements to them, would also bar them from collecting or using student data to create marketing profiles.

    In addition to prohibiting school services from personalizing ads to students, the bill obliges vendors to delete students’ records should a school request it. It also requires vendors to allow schools or parents to see and correct student files.

    But not all agree on its efficacy.

    “Although this bill has some promising features,” said Khaliah Barnes, director of the student privacy project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a research center in Washington, “it ultimately fails to uphold President Obama’s promise that the data collected in an educational context can be used only for educational purposes.”

    Opting Out of Student Data Collection

    Interesting read by Jules Polonetsky, Executive Director & Co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, and Brenda Leong, a legal and policy fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum...

    Why Opting Out of Student Data Collection Isn’t the Solution 

    In every privacy debate across every industry, the same questions arise about the rights of individuals to “opt-out” of their data being collected or used. So it should come as no surprise that the “when” and “how” of parent and student opt-outs of education data collection or use has become a robust focus of attention.

    But many argue that encouraging individuals to opt-out prevents schools from getting an accurate picture of how good of an education is being provided for all students.Without data that accurately represents all sectors of the school community, we create the risk that decisions will be made in response to those who lobby the hardest or shout the loudest, rather than in response to the needs of all students.

    Unfortunately, the debates over opt-out policies often get tethered to arguments about education policy that have little to do with privacy practices. Critics who don’t trust vendors with data may call for opt-out rights. Parents who object to the number or type of tests given to students call for opt-outs. Advocates who are worried about state or federal government policies argue for additional choices.

    Policymakers seeking to set privacy rules for student data need to consider both the privacy rights of parents and students and the expectations of parents that teachers and administrators have access to the data needed to make smart decisions about managing our educational system.

    Opt-out rights should be an opportunity for parents to decline uses of data that truly are secondary to the functioning of our educational system – not an opportunity to avoid resolution of education policy issues that affect all students. 

    Student Privacy in Schools

    In the world of educational technology, one of the big concerns is student privacy. 

    Deciding 'how' to protect student information was one of the hot topics this week at SXSWedu in Austin. Keith Krueger, CEO of Consortium for School Networking and Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign offered their take on what’s at stake, and why there is a need for national standards.

    Read full article here > 

    Digital Learning Day 2015: A Quick-Start Activity for Getting Involved

    Digital Learning Day—an initiative organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education with the help of corporate sponsors—is about empowering students and teachers and increasing college and career readiness. 

    While #DLDay is officially happening this week (specifically Friday, March 13), that doesn't mean that teachers and students can’t take part in the movement next week or next month. It’s certainly too big to be confined to one day or one activity. This article offers a couple collaborative activities to help teachers get started  

    6 Things Keeping School CTOs up at Night

    Short-staffed, budget-beleaguered education tech departments have a lot on their plates right now as they juggle the increased use of devices and applications with the need to keep security tight. This piece shares the key challenges CTOs currently face, and offers up some solutions for handling these obstacles.

    Pay particularly close attention to #1: Keeping data—and students—safe.

    DQC Privacy Update

    Eddata Privacy Update 3/6/2015

    A mid-season look at states' legislative activities pertaining to student data privacy.

    Although 2014 saw the introduction and passage of an unprecedented number of student data privacy bills (110 bills were introduced in 36 states; 21 states ended up passing legislation), 2015 has already exceeded those numbers! As of today, 39 states have introduced 138 bills addressing student data privacy.

    What approaches have these bills taken to safeguard student privacy? Like last year, states are introducing a mix of prohibitive and governance bills. Bills that take a prohibitive approach seek to reduce privacy risks by limiting data collection and use. Bills with a governance focus seek to build proactive governance structures and procedures that guide data collection and use. Since all states collect education data to inform decision-making, provide critical services and resources to students and schools, ensure transparency, and fulfill reporting requirements, establishing data governance procedures can help guarantee that these activities happen responsibly, consistently, and purposefully.

    Read full blog here >

    Student Privacy: Let's get on the same page

    I had the pleasure of guest posting on the Ferpa|Sherpa blog this week. Please check it out...

    When we consider a student’s data chain of custody, transparency is key. We must have a clear understanding of who has access to the information, for what purpose the information is being used, and for how long it will be stored. Moreover, this information should be readily available to both parents and school administrators.

    But the existing model is quite the contrary. Archaic manual processes, paired with limited guidance and weak oversight, have left the privacy door open to trouble. As technology usage increases in schools across the nation, parents, teachers, administrators, and service providers all need to better understand their privacy obligations.

    To properly protect student’s privacy in schools, we must critically look at how we are managing the information that is accessed. We also need to ask ourselves if the current process for managing student information fits with the model in which we are collecting it. We need to ensure that all parties are committed to making student privacy a top priority, and that all who have access to student information clearly understand their roles and responsibilities.

    It is imperative that we all get on the same page.

    Applying Mindfulness to Mundane Classroom Tasks

    Applying mindfulness to mundane classroom tasks inspires a more peaceful, organized, focused and balanced environment.

    Encourage honest, fearless contemplation on what is and is not working in the classroom, and adjust accordingly. This simple exercise can help you discover the mundane moments and tasks in your own classroom that are just waiting for our creativity to transform them into mindful learning opportunities.