Privacy and Data Security

How can you manage your district's data in a way that both protects privacy and benefits the district?

Using student data to support student learning is an important strategy for school leaders and educators. As the use of student data grows, school districts must work to protect student privacy and confidentiality, including satisfying the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Protecting Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).

The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing on the impact of new technology on student data privacy for February 12, which featured a testimony from Sheryl Abshire, a member of the CoSN Board of Directors.

Reps Jared Polis (D-CO) and Luke Messer (R-IN) introduced the Student Data Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 on April 29. CoSN issued a statement on this pending legislationCoSN appreciates Representatives Messer and Polis' leadership to address this critical priority and looks forward to working with them, and other Members of Congress, to earn parents' trust and ensure that all students reap technology's benefits without sacrificing their privacy.

What’s CoSN Doing?

Last year, CoSN launched an initiative (with support from by Microsoft, Lightspeed Systems, Schoolwires, and McGraw Hill) entitled Protecting Student Privacy in Connected Learning. The initiative works directly on issues of student privacy and helps give ed tech leaders practical guidance on data use in their districts. Our Protecting Privacy toolkit contains resources focusing on compliance with federal laws, communications strategies, and best practices.

In March 2015, CoSN teamed with the Data Quality Campaign to identify 10 principles for protecting student data. In April, CoSN issued a statement supporting the privacy bill introduced by U.S. House of Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO) and joined with other national organizations to sign on to "The Federal Role in Safeguarding Student Data."

CoSN has prepared talking points for you to use on this issue.

What Can You Do?

Download the resources above and join the CoSN Advocacy Network and be sure to download the free resources from our privacy initiative.

About CoSN

CoSN empowers educational leaders to leverage technology to create engaging learning environments and provides the tools essential for their success. 

CoSN's work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. CoSN's Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) program is trademarked.

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