We’re now about two months into most states’ 2015 legislative sessions (and already nearing the end of the session in several states). So it seems like the perfect time to take a mid-season look at states’ legislative activities around student data privacy. And there’s a lot to cover!
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 decisionmaking, 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.
One state building one some of the strongest data governance work from last year is Georgia. The state’s HB 414 combines elements of two data governance models that were first developed last year, one governing state and district data activities and one directly governing the data activities of online service providers. Together, these provisions help ensure that data are used to support excellent education opportunities for all of the state’s students while safeguarding the privacy of their data.
States are also building on the work started last year by focusing on supports, services, and trainings that the state can provide to its districts and educators:
North Dakota introduced a bill that would require the development of privacy and data use training for any state or local staff with access to the state’s data system.
Virginia introduced a bill that would direct the state department of education (VDOE) and the Virginia Information Technologies Agency to develop a model data security plan for districts and would require VDOE to designate a chief data security officer to assist local school divisions with the development or implementation of policies around data security and data use.
Minnesota introduced a bill to create a student achievement backpack, which would put quality information into the hands of parents by allowing them to easily access their child’s information and also control who else sees it.
With so many innovative approaches to safeguarding student privacy being considered across the country, the rest of the legislative season is bound to be interesting. We’ll bring you more updates as the sessions progress!
By: Aimee Rogstad Guidera, President and CEO, Data Quality Campaign & John Bailey, Vice President of Policy, Foundation for Excellence in Education. This blog is also posted on The EdFly Blog.
When students, parents, educators, and policymakers have the right information to make decisions, students achieve their best.
Data can demonstrate what’s working and what’s not for students. And effective data use can expand a child's horizons by providing more information about individual students to help guide teachers, parents, and students themselves make better decisions about their learning.
Data also allow policymakers to more effectively target resources to increase efficiency and improve outcomes so students graduate prepared for success.
If you’re not using data, what are you using? Education is too important to be run on hunches. Effective data use takes the guesswork out of education decisions. It guides informed choices at all levels -- from policymakers to parents and everyone in between.
But leveraging the power of data to personalize learning and empower more informed decisionmaking is dependent on people finding value in the data and trusting that data will be kept safe and secure. For years, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) and the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) have promoted using academic data to inform decisionmaking to improve school and student achievement. Building trust that this data is being used legally, responsibly, and effectively is critical to this goal.
Parents must have confidence that states and school districts will ensure their children’s information remains confidential.
Recognizing the challenge policymakers and lawmakers face around these issues, DQC and ExcelinEd together have developed an online course as part of the EdPolicy Leaders Online initiative entitled: “Student Privacy? Get Schooled.’’
In the course, we discuss the value of data and offer recommendations for safeguarding data while using data to improve student success. We also explore lessons learned from existing and emerging policies to protect data in education and other sectors.
As it now stands, there is confusion about what student data is collected and who has access to it. This void allows the perpetuation of myths and misperceptions, such as the false claim that student records are sold to private companies for marketing purposes.
The surest way to deal with confusion is transparency. Parents should know what data is being collected on their children and have access to it. Educational institutions, and their contracted service providers with access to student data, including researchers, should have clear, publicly available rules and guidelines for how they collect, use, safeguard, and destroy those data.
These and many other timely issues are covered in our online course. We are pleased to feature experts such as Kathleen Styles, Chief Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Education; Carey Markel, Data Privacy Officer, Colorado Department of Education; Jules Polonetsky, Executive Director and Co-chair, Future of Privacy Forum; and Jim Siegl, Technology Architect, Fairfax Country Public Schools, Virginia.
The course is self-paced. It is comprised of ##modules, which offer both video and written core content that each take no longer than an hour to digest. Additional resources are available in each module for those that want to take a deeper dive into specific topic areas. A digital badge and a certificate will be provided for course completion.
This course is a unique opportunity to become better informed on one of the most vital yet misunderstood issues in education today.
Aimee Rogstad Guidera, President and CEO, Data Quality Campaign:Aimee Rogstad Guidera is the President and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national, nonprofit organization leading the effort to empower educators, students, parents, and policymakers with the information they need to make the best decisions to improve student outcomes. Aimee believes that data have the power to transform education to ensure every child in this country is prepared for success in college and careers. Before founding DQC, Aimee served as the director of the Washington, DC, office of the National Center for Educational Achievement. She previously served as vice president of programs for the National Alliance of Business (NAB), worked in the education division of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, and taught for the Japanese Ministry of Education.
John Bailey, Vice President of Policy, Foundation for Excellence in Education:At ExcelinEd, John oversees policy strategy, working with public policymakers and advocacy organizations to advance education reform and next generation models of learning. Previously, he co-founded Whiteboard Advisors, a strategic consulting practice that provides policy counsel and research for philanthropists, entrepreneurs and investors. He served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy during the Bush administration. In addition, he served as a technology and innovation advisor to the Secretary of Commerce. As the nation’s second Director of Educational Technology and Pennsylvania’s first Director of Educational Technology he launched several initiatives toexpand online learning and improve the use of technology and data in education. John also worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he managed a portfolio of national advocacy grants.
New Book: How Do School Leaders Effectively Use Data to Improve Achievement?
In 2013 the Petworth neighborhood campus of Center City Public Charter Schools posted the biggest English Language Learner (ELL) achievement gains in Washington, DC. Through the use of data, teachers and other education leaders in the school found patterns that improved instruction by addressing the unique needs of each student.