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State Boards of Education Have Roles in Ensuring Appropriate Uses of Student Data and Directory Information


For Immediate Release: November 29, 2018
Contact: Renée Rybak Lang, renee.lang@nasbe.org, 703-740-4841

State Boards of Education Have Roles in Ensuring Appropriate Uses of Student Data and Directory Information

Alexandria, VA—In two new policy updates, NASBE explores 2018 trends in state policymaking on student data privacy and transparency of school data for families and urges state boards to help address privacy concerns raised by school directories.

In 2018, state boards of education discussed and adopted policies to increase accountability for student data protection and to increase transparency of schoolwide data through data dashboards, writes author Joseph Hedger in “Trends in Student Data Sharing and Privacy in 2018.”

State boards in Arkansas, Maryland, Tennessee, and Utah updated data requirements, adopted regulations on test administration and security, added policies regarding records retention, and reviewed confidentiality protocols.

Michigan, Nebraska, and Utah created dashboards to provide accessible information for parents, educators, and the community. Utah, for example, created a database of what student data are being gathered and for what purposes. “State boards of education will need to keep abreast of the changes and ensure that student data privacy and data usage practices are continually on their agendas and in their discussions,” Hedger writes.

“Students do not have the right to attend school anonymously, but they do have a right to have their information protected and used responsibly by local and state education agencies,” writes author Amelia Vance in “Protecting Privacy of School Directory Information.” A gap in federal law leaves directory information vulnerable, according to Vance.

An exception to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows schools to share student personal information with third parties. Vance urges state boards to examine increased limits to disclosure of school directory information. “Eliminating the directory information exception would make day-to-day school activities impossible,” writes Vance, “but as it stands today, FERPA is not protective enough of the privacy of directory information.” Eighteen state boards of education can write their state’s data collection policy, and the rest are well positioned to raise awareness about privacy and point to useful resources and ways forward.

Read and share the NASBE policy updates “Trends in Student Data Sharing and Privacy in 2018” and “Protecting Privacy of School Directory Information.”

For 60 years, NASBE has served as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.

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