About

Parents should be part of the technology planning process at schools and school districts through appropriate committees and consultation. In addition, there are a number of legal and procedure tools that give parents and students rights to their information.

As technology expands in the classroom, it is also important that parents and students know how student data is used — and what schools and their partners have pledged to do with it.


A Parents’ Guide to Student Data Privacy

A Parents’ Guide to Student Data Privacy

We live in an increasingly connected world where information flows between us and the organizations and companies we deal with every day. Historically that information was stored in filing cabinets but, today, most of it is stored on computers—sometimes accessible via the Internet.

Click to see more

Schools have always held a wide range of data about our children and families: Name, address, names of parents or guardians, date of birth, grades, attendance, disciplinary records, eligibility for lunch programs, special needs and the like are all necessary for basic administration and instruction. Teachers and school officials use this information for lots of reasons, including to assess how well students at a school are progressing, how effective teachers are at teaching, and how well your school performs compared to other schools. State departments of education collect data that is then aggregated (summarized) to help guide policy decisions and plan budgets.

Schools are also increasingly storing electronic data associated with “connected learning,” where online resources are used for instruction and evaluation. Online tools give students access to vast libraries of resources and allow them to collaborate with classmates or even peers around the world. Some of these online tools also give teachers and parents the ability to access and evaluate student work.

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

This project is brought to you by:
fpf-logo-smallconnect-logopta-logo-rgb

 


The Value of Data

Schools have always held a wide range of data about our children and families: Name, address, names of parents or guardians, date of birth, grades, attendance, disciplinary records, eligibility for lunch programs, special needs and the like are all necessary for basic administration and instruction. Teachers and school officials use this information for lots of reasons, including to assess how well students at a school are progressing, how effective teachers are at teaching, and how well your school performs compared to other schools. State departments of education collect data that is then aggregated (summarized) to help guide policy decisions and plan budgets.

Data Can Help Every Student Excel (Data Quality Campaign)

Schools are also increasingly storing electronic data associated with “connected learning,” where online resources are used for instruction and evaluation. Online tools give students access to vast libraries of resources and allow them to collaborate with classmates or even peers around the world. Some of these online tools also give teachers and parents the ability to access and evaluate student work.

Schools should be able to tell parents how they collect, use, and protect student data. To learn more about how data can be used to help students, check out the below resources.

Click to see more

How Data Empowers Parents (Data Quality Campaign)

Why Education Data? FAQs

What Is Student Data? (Infographic)

Who Uses Student Data? (Infographic)

Data Can Help Every Student Excel (Infographic)


How Student Data is Used

Who Uses Student Data? (Data Quality Campaign)

Want to learn more? See below!

Click to see more

What Parents Need to Know About Their Children’s School Data (U.S. Department of Education PTAC)

Type of Use Examples
Administrative Student registration, Course scheduling, Guidance counseling, Attendance, School lunch programs, Busing services
Instructional Homework assignments, Learning apps, Working collaboratively online, Engaging with teachers and classmates, Tailored course curricula, Support services, and Instructional tools
Assessment and Measurement Measuring the quality of education, Standardized tests, Course assessments, Reshaping Classroom materials, Measuring effectiveness of student learning
Optional and Non-Educational School yearbooks, Class photos, PTA fundraising, School paraphernalia

Data Quality Campaign: Who Uses Student Data?


Questions to Ask Educators and Schools About Student Privacy

Do you want more information about student privacy? Here are some questions to ask your child's teacher or school to see if they are adequately protecting student privacy.

Click to see more
Before you ask your child’s school or teacher about how they are protecting student privacy, it may help to do some homework:
  • Does your school’s website have a section discussing student privacy?
  • Does your school’s website have a section discussing what ed tech is being used?
  • Did your school send you a notice at the beginning of the year about your FERPA rights and what they define as “directory information”?
  • Does your school send you a permission form to sign when your child is using technology that is not essential to the lesson or to classroom management?
Questions to ask your child’s teacher:
  • What apps or websites are being used in my child’s classroom?
  • How are you incorporating lessons about privacy in general lessons?
Questions to ask your child’s school:
  • Who is in charge of student data in our district?
  • Does the school or district have an approval system before teachers adopt new apps or software that collects student personal information?
  • How does the school and/or district hold outside service providers accountable for maintaining the confidentiality of the student data they receive?
  • What kind of data is collected about students?
  • What kind of information is collected about parents?
  • How is student data used?
  • Who has access to data about my child?
  • How can parents in our district opt out of sharing directory information? (if desired)

Any questions you think we should add? Email info@ferpasherpa.org


Parent and Student Privacy Rights

There are a number of important laws that touch upon privacy in the classroom. These laws give parents and students a number of important rights. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the main federal law that governs student privacy, and the U.S. Department of Education has provided general FERPA guidance for parents.

Click to see more

There are a number of important laws that touch upon privacy in the classroom. These laws give parents and students a number of important rights. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the main federal law that governs student privacy, and the U.S. Department of Education has provided general FERPA guidance for parents. Parents have even more rights over the disclosure of “Directory Information” under FERPA. Learn more in the video below.

The ABC’s of Student Directory Information (U.S. Department of Education PTAC)


Issues Outside of School

Children use various educational programs and e-games for both learning and fun. There are other rules that apply to children who access educational or non-educational web programs through personal computers, and through mobile apps on tablets and smartphones. Parents should be aware that data that is collected about their student, that is not a part of their educational record at school does not fall under the protection of FERPA.

Click to see more

However, for children under the age of 13, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) applies. COPPA’s purpose is to give parents control over the information collected from their children online. In a nutshell COPPA requires website operators to:

  • Provide a clear and complete privacy policy
  • Get parental consent before collecting private information about their children
  • Provide parents access to the information collected on their children and allow them to withdraw permission on future collection of their children’s information
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the information collected
  • Minimize the retention period for children information for as long as is necessary, and delete the data responsibly

COPPA prohibits website operators from knowingly collecting “personally identifiable information” from children under 13 without parental consent. “Personally Identifiable Information” means any information that could identify your child, including their name, address, birth date, email address, telephone number, social security number, geolocation information, screen names, user names, photographs, and videos. COPPA applies to operators of websites directed at children under the age of 13 that collect personal information, and operators of websites with a general audience that knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13.

Resources

How to Keep Kids Safe Online (greatschools)

The Federal Trade Commission, the government agency that enforces the law, offers tips to parents about how to protect their children’s privacy online. Additionally, kidSAFE provides a quick one-pager on COPPA. More detailed information is available through the Center for Digital Democracy their COPPA parent guide, “The New Children’s Online Privacy Rules: What Parents Need to Know.” Moms with Apps has also provided a nice breakdown of 5 Things Moms Need to Know about Apps.

StaySafeOnline provides a number of key resources to help parents teach their children about good digital citizenship.

6 Reasons Why Parents Should Care About Kids and Online Privacy

Common Sense Media’s Privacy and Internet Safety Webpage

Family Online Safety Institute’s (FOSI) Good Digital Parenting Webpage

FPF report on “Kids & The Connected Home: Privacy in the Age of Connected Dolls, Talking Dinosaurs, and Battling Robots.”


Additional Resources for Parents

There are many great resources for parents seeking to learn more about student privacy. Some of our favorite resources are listed below, but you can access all the resources we have found for parents by clicking the “Resources” tab above and selecting “Parents” in the “Resources for…” drop-down menu.

Click to see more

Resources TBD

Internet Safety Tips for Kids (Common Sense Media)