Managing Privacy of Electronic Student Information: A Guide for School Business Officers

February 2015 | 0 Comments  Average 3.5 out of 5

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About This Resource

Parents are raising tough questions about privacy protections of online educational software used at schools nationwide. They worry that vendors will build data files on their children and sell the information to unscrupulous individuals or companies. When schools are unable to respond to parental privacy concerns, parents are quick to organize and contact legislators and the media. Bills protecting student data privacy were introduced in 36 states in 2014, with 16 states passing new restrictions.  

This guide is aimed at school business officers and reviews the challenges schools face in managing contracts with online vendors of educational products. It summarizes existing federal law on data privacy and groundbreaking new privacy laws in California viewed as national models. The guide suggests the following steps for schools outside California that lack a broad statute restricting vendor access to student information:

  • Recognize the issue
  • Develop a list of approved sites or vendors
  • Establish a vendor approval and contract review process
  • Train teachers and administrators
  • Open lines of communication with parents
  • Check on insurance

Many schools are behind the curve on this important issue, and the article can help them be proactive on common data privacy issues.

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