How to Protect Student Data in Education

The issue of data privacy touches a nerve for many, triggering visions of an internet-era Big Brother beyond Orwell’s wildest predictions. And no privacy issue raises an emotional response—or requires a thoughtful approach—more than the sensitive information compiled about America’s kids.

Hearing the school district perspective was especially valuable. “We wanted the tech industry to hear from the districts about where their pressure points are, in a very unfiltered way,” explained Marsali Hancock, founding president of iKeepSafe. And, according to her, some of those unfiltered thoughts were surprising to the industry.

“Educators want an increased voice in innovation, and increased transparency about who has access to the data,” said Hancock. Districts called for more ways to easily communicate with companies and with parents. “They’re looking for good ways to explain to parents what they’re doing with student data, and why they’re doing it.”

All four districts also spoke to the challenges posed by increased technology use in the classroom. “One of the districts has 150 different apps used in their district,” explained Bosmeny. “That’s 150 privacy policies to review, 150 integrations to test, 150 security reviews to be done.” Bosmeny sees this as a chance for industry to directly engage with the concerns of districts. “There’s no universal set of regulations, so there’s a big opportunity for people in the industry to step up and work with schools to create solutions.”

In recent months, student data privacy has become an increasingly hot-button issue. Aimee Guidera is the Executive Director of Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a nonpartisan national advocacy nonprofit represented at the roundtable. DQC aims to build productive conversations around how data is used in education to improve student achievement. As she sees it, the recent focus on student data privacy largely is due to more technology use and data in the classroom.

To learn more about student data privacy, check out the resources section of DQC’s website, including a roadmap to safeguarding student data and suggestions of what every parent should be asking about data in education.

Read the entire article by Charley Locke on edSurge at

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