Meaningful access to data empowers people with the information they need to make decisions. Families, schools, and communities all need role-appropriate data access to best support students and jobseekers. But it is often difficult for parents to find, understand, and use data about their child’s education to make decisions—leaving families in the dark and unsure about how to best move forward.
At DQC, we have heard time and again from parents that they need and want greater access to data to support their child on their journey through education and into the workforce. According to DQC’s 2021 opinion polling in partnership with The Harris Poll, only 34% of parents know where to find all the information they need about their child’s post-high school options. And 93% of parents said that easier access to information would help them feel more confident about their ability to support their child’s post-high school decisionmaking.
This legislative session, we are tracking examples where state legislators have introduced and passed bills to provide families with access to parent portals as a central location to find and use information. These laws provide role-appropriate data access to parents while ensuring student data is safeguarded, all in service of promoting responsible and effective data use.
Both of the following examples have been signed into law by their states’ governors:
- Utah’s HB 249 requires the Utah State Board of Education to create a parent portal that would enable families to access important information to support their student, including a school comparison tool for families to see a side-by-side comparison of schools. In addition to the comparison tool, the parent portal will house information on school and district resources and information to make it easier to navigate.
- Virginia’s SB 1329/HB 1629 requires the Virginia Department of Education to establish a “Parent Data Portal” that provides parents access to individualized assessment data from state-issued assessments over time. This legislation includes mechanisms to ensure all parents can use and understand this data, such as requiring language translation.
These bills include provisions that enable role-appropriate data access for families and promote transparency while centering privacy. But states must also communicate about the value of these parent portals in order to build trust in the information they share. By proactively communicating about and sharing data through mechanisms like parent portals, states can take steps to build trust with communities and encourage effective data use.