Student Privacy

School districts across the country have embraced student data use as a means for enhancing school operations and classroom instruction. While the practice of collecting student data is not new – K-12 schools and institutions of higher education have been gathering and reporting test scores, grades, retention records, and the like for decades – the means by which student information is collected, the types of information collected, and the entities that ultimately have access to this data have expanded dramatically. At the same time, the poor data security practices in many schools and subsequent lapses in student privacy demonstrate troubling side effects of irresponsible data use.

CDT believes that realizing the full potential of education technology requires robust student privacy standards. In addition to strict legal compliance, including with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the 100+ state-level student privacy laws that supplement it, protecting student data and using it responsibly requires clear data governance frameworks, well-trained school staff, proactive community engagement, and discerning relationships with education technology vendors. CDT helps education practitioners achieve these goals by providing strategic policy advocacy and actionable guidance resources.

Featured Content

A screen shot of CDT's comments to the U.S. Department of Education, urging for the protection of students of color and students with disabilities – and their data. White document on a dark grey background.

CDT Comments to US Dept. of ED Urging the Protection of Students of Color and Students with Disabilities, And Their Data

From CDT's Equity in Civic Tech team, the "Five Steps to Protect Student Privacy & Support Equity in the New School Year." 5 icons on a white background.

Steps to Protect Student Privacy & Support Equity in the New School Year

CDT Comments on Protecting Privacy Rights and Ensuring Equitable Algorithmic Systems for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students

CDT Staff to Tackle Hottest Issues in Tech at RightsCon 2021

CDT Tech Tales, a blog series that lifts up personal and professional stories around CDT's issues.

CDT Tech Tales: Centering Student Well-Being in School Technology Decisions

CDT issue brief, entitled "Closing the Homework Gap While Protecting Student Privacy." Graphic shows blue houses connected to reliable internet and grey houses not connected.

Issue Brief: Closing the Homework Gap While Protecting Student Privacy

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