Student Data: Trust, Transparency, and the Role of Consent

This paper discusses how data is used both in classrooms and by educators and policymakers to assess educational outcomes.9 It addresses the practical implications of consent requirements both for day-to-day school management and for the education system as a whole. It explores how existing federal laws, including the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), protect student data. It reviews the activities of vendors and the role of individual consent in data processing by the health and financial sectors. It proposes that in lieu of focusing on the technicalities of parental consent requirements, legitimate privacy concerns must be addressed in a manner that protects all students. It argues that parents should never have to opt-out of embracing new technologies simply in order to protect their children’s privacy. Instead, to foster an environment of trust, schools and their education partners must offer more insight into how data is being used. With more information and better access to their own data, parents and students will be better equipped to make informed decisions about their education choices.

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