NSBA submits student data privacy resources to House Subcom. on Early Childhood, Elem, and Sec. Ed.

NSBA executive director Thomas J. Gentzel submitted a letter to the Honorable Todd Rokita, Chairman, and the Honorable Marcia Fudge, Ranking Member, U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, providing relevant and timely resources aimed at safeguarding student privacy while optimizing technology to improve student achievement and competitiveness. 

Gentzel's letter follows:

National School Boards Association Resources: “How Emerging Technology Affects Student Privacy,” hearing, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, Feb. 12, 2015

Dear Chairman Rokita and Ranking Member Fudge:

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), representing more than 90,000 local school board members across the nation, working with and through our state school boards associations, is pleased to comment on the local governance role regarding how emerging technology affects student privacy. School boards are uniquely positioned to craft a vision that includes new strategies for engaged learning and enhanced student achievement through the informed use of technology.

At the same time, NSBA is acutely aware of the need to ensure the safety and privacy of our 50 million school children. As states across the country rapidly adopt their own requirements for student data privacy, NSBA supports the timely efforts of America’s school districts to protect the privacy of students and of the families who entrust public schools with their child’s personally identifiable information.

To that end, NSBA actively develops and disseminates legal, policy, and practical guidance and best practices to local school boards to enable them to safeguard student privacy while optimizing technology to improve student achievement and competitiveness. NSBA recently lent its support to the Student Privacy Pledge, industry-developed guidelines that call upon vendors to honor student privacy. In addition, NSBA has published and widely circulated timely resources for school board members and the education community. NSBA is pleased to provide these resources to the Subcommittee, including:

Talking About the Facts of Education Data with School Board Members: Data Collection and the Value of Education Data,” co-branded by NSBA’s Center for Public Education and the Data Quality Campaign, 2014.

“Student data privacy is cloudy today, clearer tomorrow,” by Sonja Trainor, NSBA, for Phi Delta Kappan Magazine, February 2015.

Data in the Cloud: A Legal and Policy Guide for School Boards on Student Data Privacy in the Cloud Computing Era,” NSBA’s guide for school board members, April 2014.

Local school boards will be integral to informing, leading, and implementing emerging policies to protect student privacy, harnessing the benefits of digital learning, and ensuring that their district’s technology investments are grounded in “best practice” from policy to professional development.

“How Emerging Technology Affects Student Privacy” is an important component of the national conversation about enhancing the promise of education technology without jeopardizing local, parent, and community control. NSBA will continue to work with the Committee to ensure that the highest-quality education is available to all students to ensure equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership.  


Thomas J. Gentzel
Executive Director, NSBA


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