Taking a Stand on Principles

Taking a Stand on Principles

When we develop policies or make decisions that affect students, we have to start with our values. This is true no matter if you are in the classroom or on Capitol Hill. For the first time, the education community has come together to affirm its commitment to the safe and effective use of student data and articulate common values to guide this work.

Last week at SXSWedu, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) released the Student Data Principles, fundamental beliefs about how students’ personal information should be used and protected. Over 30 education organizations representing a range of perspectives and voices at all levels of the education system—from parents to school board members to state school chiefs—support these 10 principles.

Each of our organizations believes passionately that the use of high-quality education data are critical to improving student achievement and success, and that educational institutions and anyone who has access to students’ personal information must do everything in their power to ensure that information is protected and used to support students.

So what do the principles say? At a fundamental level, we believe student information should support student learning; foster continuous improvement; and inform, engage, and empower students, families, and educators. It should be accessible to parents, students, and educators; inform the professional judgment of educators; and should only be shared for authorized school purposes.

We believe anyone with access to student information should follow clear rules that are publicly available, only have access to the minimum data they need to support student success, and be trained to ethically and effectively use student data.

Finally, we believe institutions that collect and maintain student information should have somebody responsible for making decisions about student data, notifying the public in the event of misuse or a breach, developing security that follows industry best practices, and ensuring families and students can easily have their questions answered.

Everyone has a role to play in safeguarding student data. With these values guiding our work, we are on a better path to support the ability of everyone with a stake in education to use data effectively to support student achievement.

For more information about education data privacy, see resources from DQC and CoSN.

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