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Data Quality Campaign Budget Request Letter for PTAC Funding

Data Quality Campaign Budget Request Letter for PTAC Funding

The following is a letter sent to U.S. Department of Education acting secretary John King in support of allocating dollars from the U.S. Department of Education administration account to the Privacy and Technical Assistance Center in 2016 and 2017. 

The Honorable John King
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Acting Secretary King:

Our organizations strongly support state and local efforts to use data to support teaching and learning and improve decision-making by schools, school districts and states. School systems’ capacities to achieve this goal grew significantly over the past decade thanks to careful planning by educators and policymakers, but also because of crucial leadership and support from the U.S. Department of Education.

As states and districts continue strengthening their ability to use and appropriately share data, our organizations are working to identify and promote policies and practices for better protecting students’ personally identifiable data. This work includes ensuring that educators and other users of student data know how to effectively comply with state and federal privacy laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Building this privacy protection capacity at the state, school district, and school levels is challenging, particularly given states’ approvals of over thirty new privacy laws in the past 18 months. Additional federal student data privacy requirements are also being considered, which could add further complexity to this work.

Given these challenges, we strongly support the guidance and technical assistance provided by the Department of Education’s Privacy and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). PTAC provides invaluable assistance to entities tasked with complying with FERPA and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). The Fiscal Year 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act includes an additional $21 million for the Department’s program administration account, some of which should, consistent with your Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request, be allocated to strengthen the PTAC’s ability to provide and expand such assistance. We also encourage you to seek at least a $1 million increase funding again in the Department’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request. This funding is not only needed to prevent student data privacy problems before they arise, but also to ensure more timely responses to parent and student privacy complaints.

Thank you for carefully considering our request. This relatively small investment will have an outsize impact for students and families by supporting expansion of the PTAC’s proven technical assistance strategies and work.


Paige Kowalski
Vice President, Policy and Advocacy
Data Quality Campaign

With support from:

  • Alliance For Excellent Education
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO)
  • Common Sense Kids Action
  • Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
  • Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
  • Future of Privacy Forum
  • iKeepSafe
  • The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
  • National Association of States Boards of Education (NASBE)
  • The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA)
  • Stand for Children
  • The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
  • The State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO)
  • StriveTogether
  • StudentsFirst