Data is essential to an effective educational system. It supports high-quality teaching, drives personalized learning for students and underpins school accountability.
Yet parents, privacy advocates, educators, administrators and policy makers may not be equally comfortable with the policies and protections in place to protect student data. It is critical to find the right balance between the benefits and challenges associated with student data use, or we risk putting in place policies that will hinder the development and use of innovative technology in our nation’s schools.
Over the past three years, lawmakers in almost every state introduced bills addressing the need for student data privacy protections. To address these challenges, ExcelinEd regularly provides support to state policymakers and advocates as they work to modernize policies and respond to the concerns of parents by advancing comprehensive, balanced student data privacy protections.
Furthering our work in the states, ExcelinEd today released Building a Trusted Environment for Education Technology Products, the third paper in a research series on this topic. The paper focuses on the important role service providers, including education and technology companies, play in building a trusted environment for learning.
Our research and interviews with privacy experts, technology executives, investors and advocates highlights opportunities for companies to increase their engagement on this issue and included key recommendations such as:
- Embrace the principles of privacy by design, especially in new product development.
- Assess the use cases and need for student data to minimize what is collected and retained.
- Provide users with appropriate tools to manage data collected about students, including tools that involve parents where applicable.
- Consider support of third-party privacy initiatives, such as signing the Student Data Privacy Pledge.
The Student Data Privacy research series along with model legislation, a policy brief and communications toolkit are available at ExcelinEd.org/Student-Data-Privacy. We hope you will take the time to check out the new paper. And please contact us if we can be of assistance in your state.