Three state approaches to student data privacy

States must collect the right data to answer critical questions, and must meet the needs of educators and families by giving them access to the right data, at the right time, and in the right format, but they also have to ensure that privacy and security are paramount, said Paige Kowalski, the DQC’s director of State Policy and Advocacy.

New York State education officials are working to tailor EngageNY Portal (ENYP) to meet student and state data needs through a standardized approach across its nearly 700 districts, said Ken Wagner, associate commissioner of Curriculum, Assessment, and Educational Technology in the New York State Education Department.

The portal will give authorized educators, students, and parents or legal guardians the ability to log in and view students’ educational data through dashboards.

Through ENYP, Wagner said that all stakeholders will be able to have one dedicated access point through which to view, link, and track student data.

Student data privacy is among state education leaders’ top concerns, Wagner said. Access to student information will be controlled at the district levels, and third-party vendors have access to data only when authorized by the state or by districts, and then only for educational purposes.

“We want to be aware of what data is collected, how it’s used, and realize all potential risks,” Wagner said.

In Louisiana, electronic access to student data is based on an individual’s role within the education department, and access is provided only with proper authorization, said Boffy, who is the educator in residence for the Council of Chief State School Officers. Boffy also is secretary-treasurer in the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The state’s system records changes to or downloads of data when they occur.

In June, the state created a special task force to evaluate data privacy practices to ensure that practices align with policy after public and parental scrutiny arose over the sharing of student data through the state’s partnership with a database company that tracks student progress. State education officials terminated the partnership after review.

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(Next page: How parents helped pass a privacy law in Oklahoma)

Laura Ascione

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