Blue student backpack, with a multi-color trail of data coming from the open top of the bag and encircling it. Bright purple background.

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.

Recent Content

CDT report, entitled "Risks from Personalized Learning Technologies." Illustration of a series of interfaces from personalized learning technologies, showing students' faces and different charts and data points.

Report – Risks from Personalized Learning Technologies

Photo of CDT's Civic Tech team members – left to right, Elizabeth Laird in sunglasses, Aaron Spitler in glasses, Hannah Quay-de la Vallee, and Cody Venzke in sunglasses.

Season’s Greetings from Civic Tech!

Graphic for CDT's research brief, entitled "Hidden Harms: Student Activity Monitoring After Roe v. Wade." Black text on a white background.

Brief – Hidden Harms: Student Activity Monitoring After Roe v. Wade

CDT report, entitled "Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Report – Out of Sight, Out of Mind? School Districts' EdTech Efforts Have Outpaced Transparency and Student Privacy." Illustration of a school building, covered in gradients of halftone patterns. The left side is dark, while the right is light, demonstrating the illuminating impact that transparency makes on student privacy.

Report – Out of Sight, Out of Mind? School Districts’ EdTech Efforts Have Outpaced Transparency and Student Privacy

Graphic for CDT's research brief, entitled "Hidden Harms: Disproportionate Disciplinary Action." Black text on a white background.

Brief – Hidden Harms: Disproportionate Disciplinary Action

Graphic for CDT's research brief, entitled "Hidden Harms: Increased Law Enforcement Interactions." Black text on a white background.

Brief – Hidden Harms: Increased Law Enforcement Interactions

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