Children’s Educational Records and Privacy: A Study of Elementary and Secondary School State Reporting Systems

Organization: Fordham University Center on Law and Information Policy
Author: Joel R. Reidenberg
Published: October 28, 2009

The study reports on the results of a survey of all fifty states and finds that state educational databases across the country ignore key privacy protections for the nation’s K-12 children. The study finds that large amounts of personally identifiable data and sensitive personal information about children are stored by the state departments of education in electronic warehouses or for the states by third party vendors. These data warehouses typically lack adequate privacy protections, such as clear access and use restrictions and data retention policies, are often not compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and leave K-12 children unprotected from data misuse, improper data release, and data breaches. The study provides recommendations for best practices and legislative reform to address these privacy problems.