A survey released by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), found that there is a need to provide improved student privacy support to teachers, parents, and students – with almost half of teachers reporting that they have received no substantive training on data privacy.

According to the survey, four in 10 parents surveyed said that their schools have had discussions on data protection practices, while students surveyed “expressed little to no previous consideration or concern about student data privacy and security.”

“It can be easy to overlook hard-to-see issues like digital safety and student privacy during a time of crisis like COVID-19,” said CDT CEO Alexandra Givens. “But as our research shows, safety and privacy are vital concerns, and the vast majority of teachers and parents support more online learning even after the pandemic. It’s critical that policymakers, schools, teachers, and parents work together to protect students.”

The report, titled “Protecting Students’ Privacy and Advancing Digital Equity,” made recommendations and outlined steps for education leaders and policymakers to take. Among recommendations include: prioritizing privacy-focused teacher training while communicating with parents about how schools are protecting their children’s data and reducing inequity through closing the digital divide while protecting data.

“The perspectives of students, parents, and teachers are chronically underrepresented in conversations about student data privacy and civil rights,” said CDT Senior Fellow of Student Privacy Elizabeth Laird. “Our research lifts up those voices so leaders can better meet people where they are, provide needed access and appropriate information, and implement student privacy protection best practices.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.