On January 1, 2016, “ SOPIPA”—the recently passed California student data privacy law that defines how edtech companies can use student data became effective. About 25 other states have passed similar laws that are already in effect, or will become effective. At the same time, more than 200 school service providers have now signed the Student Privacy Pledge, a legally enforceable commitment which has language closely aligned with these laws.
With the beginning of a new year and the expectation of another busy legislative cycle for privacy laws at both state and federal levels, it’s a good time for parents, school administrators and school service providers to take inventory on which companies and services are covered by these standards and understand what they actually require.
So far this year, we’ve seen 94 student data privacy bills in 31 states (see our further analysis here). With 34 state legislatures still in session, we anticipate that several more bills will be signed into law in the coming months. While the stream of state legislation has certainly slowed compared to 2014 and 2015, we’re encouraged to see states building on their previous efforts—and those of their peers—to be thoughtful about protecting student privacy while still allowing for the use of data to support student learning.