Today’s schools are more connected than ever: most education records are stored digitally, and students and staff use apps and websites for daily instruction, homework, and administrative tasks. These apps, websites, and digital storage vendors collect a wide variety of data about students, including kids’ names, birth dates, internet browsing histories, grades, test scores, disabilities, disciplinary records, family income information, and more—often without parental consent or clear, adequate security protections.
We’ve heard from multiple parents who want to know: what are schools allowed to do with this sensitive data? What safeguards are required? And how do I protect my child’s privacy?
So we’ve teamed up with the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy (PCSP) to create The Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy: A Practical Guide for Protecting Your Child’s Sensitive School Data from Snoops, Hackers, and Marketers.
The kit offers clear guidance about parental rights under federal law, helps parents ask the right questions about their schools’ data policies, and offers simple steps parents can take to advocate for better privacy policies and practices in their children’s schools. And, thanks to a generous grant from the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, it’s free!
As anyone who’s ever tried to read their smartphone’s terms of service knows, privacy can often feel confusing and overwhelming. But we believe that you shouldn’t need a PhD or law degree to ensure that your child or family’s sensitive data isn’t shared with commercial entities. Our Toolkit lays out what data schools collect from children and how parents can limit access to their child’s information while advocating for better policies for all kids. We’ve designed the Toolkit to be jargon-free and accessible for both seasoned advocates and parents who are new to the issue. And unlike many other student privacy resources, it’s designed to protect the interests of parents and students—not educational technology companies.
Education and privacy advocates are hailing this unique new guide. “The Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy is a powerhouse resource for parents, educators and school districts,” said Laura Bowman, President of the PAA-Roanoke Valley chapter of the public education advocacy group Parents Across America. “By providing easily understood explanations of laws and legal rights, best practices, questions to ask, and ways to advocate for their children, the Toolkit empowers parents with the information they need to ensure their child’s sensitive information is safeguarded.”
And on May 23, please join us for a free webinar with privacy experts, advocates, and parents who want to start using the kit to make change in their communities.