Excellent report on student data privacy legislation by Rachel Anderson & The Data Quality Campaign...
Last year, growing state and district use of education
data and increased public attention to the ways in which
these data are collected, used, managed, and disclosed
sparked much conversation in statehouses around
the country about the value of data and how they are
protected. Student data (e.g., demographics, transcripts,
attendance, test scores, outcomes, etc.) are an important
tool for policymakers, educators, and families as they
seek ways to support students and improve education
experiences and pathways. Safeguarding data is a critical
component of effective data use, and this complex and
critical issue has continued to evolve over the last year.
The student data privacy bills introduced in 2015 reflect
both continued and newly developing student data
privacy conversations in states and at the federal level.
WHAT SHOULD STATES DO NOW? - The 2015 legislative session is leaving states, districts,
and service providers with new roles, responsibilities,
opportunities, and challenges. As states continue to
legislate around student data privacy and begin to
implement and operationalize their laws, what should
they be considering to help ensure that they are
safeguarding privacy and supporting the state’s use of
education data in service of learning? DQC recommends
that states take the following actions:
Provide transparency - By being transparent about what data
they collect, how and why the data are used, who
has access to the data, and how the data are
safeguarded, states can help curb concerns about
data use and privacy and communicate more
effectively with the public.
Communicate the value of data - When educators and families get real benefits from
education data—such as clear public reports, including
school report cards and high school feedback reports,
and parent and teacher data dashboards—they can
truly see the value of education data and advocate for
Support boards and districts - Many states are now calling on districts, state boards, and school boards to take on new responsibilities
related to data privacy and management.
However, they cannot adequately meet these new
responsibilities without additional supports from the
state. Some states are already
beginning to provide training, model policies, and
direct support to districts. However, with a rapidly
changing field and limited supports from the federal
government (especially around data training), districts
and boards will continue to need state support.