Data Systems Should Be Secure Tools for Learning
SREB Releases Policy Brief

News release

As states pass new data laws for schools, policymakers should ensure these policies address transparency, privacy, security, collection, use and sharing. Most important, these systems should drive student learning and protect student and employee privacy. A new brief, Data Privacy and Security, from SREB’s Educational Technology Cooperative provides states with clear recommendations for education data policies. This brief is a useful overview on two education data topics — privacy and security.

HIGHLIGHTS

Data Value and Use
Technology that gathers and analyzes data has further personalized teaching and learning. Policymakers have also relied on student data to gauge education issues, progress and assess policy implementation.

Privacy and Security Risks, Legislation
More than 1 million records have been compromised by security breaches since 2014, affecting both K-12 and higher education. These security and privacy risks have heightened public concern and prompted legislation. Between 2013 and 2015, more than 300 bills that address education data privacy and security were introduced in legislatures across the nation.

Policy
Transparency: Policies should include plans for schools in handling security breaches, including notifications to users, remediation to correct the problems and procedures to mitigate risks. Legislation should clarify governance for data collection, access, sharing and security.

User Permissions: Levels of access to data should vary by role. Data dashboards can be customized by user — for example, principal, teacher, IT administrator — to make interpretation of data more clear and access more intuitive.

Training and Technical Support: Ninety-five percent of data breaches are due to human error. Policies should ensure that personnel with access to student data know how to secure, protect and use it effectively and ethically.

Read the brief>


More Information:
Wanda Barker
Director, Educational Technology Cooperative
(404) 879-5558
Wanda.Barker@SREB.org

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The Southern Regional Education Board works with states to improve public education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.