Education tech, data privacy and your student
Just as technology has increasingly saturated our modern lives, so too has it begun to fill our schools. While this change presents promising opportunities, it also creates new and unprecedented challenges, from pedagogical concerns about the quality of online learning to the long-term implications of creating a digital footprint in childhood.
What can I do to protect my child's data?
There is a lot you can do, from smaller steps like opting out of the school release of directory information on an annual basis to more long-term solutions like pushing for stronger legislation.
- RYH tip sheet: Ed Tech Tips for Parents Four basic steps for monitoring and protecting your child's educational data
- Parent Coalition for Student Privacy: Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy, Caja de Recursos para Padres de Familia sobre la Privacidad del Estudiante
- Parents Across America: Questions parents should ask about ed tech
- Common Sense Media: Ask your kid’s school these essential student privacy questions Common Sense Media has many resources for parents related to software and apps (but do note that CSM has close ties to the tech industry and has received large amounts of funding from supporters of ed privatization Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation, among others.)
- Children's Screen Time Action Network: Resource Library Parent guides, research, case studies
- Three important federal laws protecting student data: FERPA, COPPA and PPRA. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy has very helpful information explaining what your rights are under these laws and what to do if you feel your rights have been violated. State protections in IL under the IL School Student Records Act are very strong as well. Contact us if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I learn more in order to advocate for better protections of student data?
- RYH backgrounder: Why we need better student data protection
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: It’s Time To Make Student Privacy a Priority
- The Network for Public Education: Online Learning: What Every Parent Should Know
- Electronic Privacy Information Center: Epic Student Privacy Project EPIC has done a lot of work in this area; this a good list of legal and policy background on this topic
- Commercialism in Education Research Unit of the National Education Policy Center: Annual reports on Trends in Schoolhouse Commercialism, published by CERU since 1998; recent issues have focused on digital privacy and online learning
- Education Week: The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning
- The Promises and Pitfalls of Ed Tech: We held a forum to discuss these issues in October 2017. You can watch the full video of the forum here. Rachael Stickland of the national group Parent Coalition for Student Privacy presented, and you can see her slides here. Slides from the intro presentation on ed tech in CPS from RYH's Cassie Creswell can be found here.
- The IL House Committee on Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and IT held a subject matter hearing on student data privacy in August 2018. You can see video and read testimony from the hearing here (on our sister org Raise Your Hand Action's website.)
What's happening in CPS that I should know about?
CPS has had six major data breaches since May 2015:
If your child's data has been breached in CPS and their student ID number has been exposed, they have a right to be issued a new student ID number. Students involved in the June 2018 breach should have already received a new ID; sent home via a print-out. Contact us if you have questions, and we will try to point you to the right resource: email@example.com
Expansion of "personalized" learning
In fall of 2016 CPS set up a new centralized Department of Personalized Learning. In May 2018, CPS announced a $14 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to CPS and LEAP Innovations to support implementation of personalized learning programs. CZI is the developer for the Summit personalized learning platform software. There has been pushback against the use of Summit from parents and students across the country. CPS schools started using Summit PLP in 2016.
WTTW's Chicago Tonight: Mark Zuckerberg Grant to Help CPS Spread ‘Personalized Learning’
ELearningInside News: Why Do So Many Parents Opt Out of Summit Learning