Safeguarding Data

Student data is crucial for educators, families, and policymakers to help students excel. Safeguarding data—and building trust in how it is used—is an essential part of using data effectively to support student learning.

Strong Policies and Open Communication

Policymakers and education leaders must implement strong data privacy and security policies around this information (which includes transcripts, tests scores, attendance, demographics, progress over time, and more), while allowing data to be used for vital purposes—like personalizing the learning experience for every child.

Everyone who uses student information is responsible for handling it in a legal, responsible, and ethical way. Policymakers need to communicate honestly with parents and other members of the public about the value of education data and how states and districts are protecting the data they collect. Parents, educators, and other members of the public should be able to find important information about the security and privacy of student information, such as:

  • Why is data collected? Who collects it and for what purposes?
  • How is data being used to help my student and my school?
  • What policies and practices govern how data is collected, stored, shared, accessed, retained, and used?

The State Role

States play a critical role in developing, enforcing, and communicating policies that build on the foundation of federal privacy laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). State policymakers need to implement laws and policies that ensure that quality data is available while also keeping sensitive information secure. States must also go beyond compliance with federal and state laws and create robust and innovative data governance and privacy policies, engaging with the public to build value and trust in the use of education data.

Action Steps