National Organizations Release Recommendations on the Federal Role in Student Data Privacy
The Data Quality Campaign Stresses Clarity, Coordination, and Capacity Building

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015)—Amid unprecedented attention by President Obama, the US Department of Education, and Congress to protect student data privacy, a coalition of 18 national organizations has released recommendations on “The Federal Role in Safeguarding Student Data.” Following are the remarks of the Data Quality Campaign, a member of the coalition and a national nonprofit that advocates for the safe, effective use of education data to improve student achievement:

“Everyone who has a stake in education, including the federal government, has a role to play in ensuring that we protect the personal information of our students as we use data to personalize learning, fuel innovation, and help our young people achieve their goals.

“As Congress considers legislative proposals to update or supplement current laws, any proposed federal legislation should establish a solid foundation to protect student information in our constantly changing and increasingly digital school environment.

“Given the increasing state action to safeguard data—173 student privacy laws have been introduced in 43 states already this year—it is crucial that any new federal actions not muddy the water but provide clarity to those closest to our students as to how myriad privacy and security laws work together to safeguard data.

“There is need for federal action beyond legislating. Not only should federal agencies coordinate to make sure there is coherent, consistent communication and application of definitions and standards across federal agencies, but federal action should also support capacity building throughout the education sector to know how to safeguard data. While laws are necessary, it is not possible to legislate trust; this culture change requires a sector-wide focus on developing the policies, practices, and norms required for everyone with a stake in education to understand their role in keeping student data safe and secure.”

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