Law & Courts Report Roundup

Data Systems Lack Privacy Safeguards

By Dakarai I. Aarons — November 03, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As states go about building longitudinal-data systems, some have not taken adequate actions to safeguard sensitive information in student records, a new study concludes.

In some states, information is moving regularly from local to state agencies without regard to federal privacy laws, the study by the Fordham University Center on Law and Information Policy found. Other states are outsourcing development of their electronic-data warehouses without putting any explicit privacy restrictions on the vendors.

Most states began building data warehouses as a way to keep track of the disaggregated student-achievement data they are required to report annually under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which was signed into law in 2002.

In the intervening years, states have begun to look at more uses for the data, including measuring college-readiness outcomes. The U.S. Department of Education argues that the use of such systems is “at the heart of improving schools and school districts,” and the federal economic-stimulus law provides $250 million in competitive-grant funding to help states build better data systems.

According to the report, at least 32 percent of states store students’ Social Security numbers in their data warehouses, at least 22 percent of states keep a record of student pregnancies, and at least 46 percent of the states preserve noneducational statistics, including mental-health and justice-system records.

The study recommends that each state hire a chief privacy officer to manage such issues, and collect only information that is being used for clearly articulated auditing or evaluative purposes.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 04, 2009 edition of Education Week as Data Systems Lack Privacy Safeguards


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls
Science K-12 Essentials Forum How To Teach STEM Problem Solving Skills to All K-12 Students
Join experts for a look at how experts are integrating the teaching of problem solving and entrepreneurial thinking into STEM instruction.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Modernizing Principal Support: The Road to More Connected and Effective Leaders
When principals are better equipped to lead, support, and maintain high levels of teaching and learning, outcomes for students are improved.
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts Conservatives’ Checklist: U.S. Supreme Court Education Decisions to Overrule
Here are five education issues that could be targets for reconsideration if Roe v. Wade falls.
3 min read
The Supreme Court in Washington, Dec. 3, 2021. The Supreme Court has turned away a plea from parents to block a new admissions policy at a prestigious high school in northern Virginia that a lower court had found discriminates against Asian American students.
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 3, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts Leaked Abortion Draft Has Supreme Court Education Cases in Political Cross-Hairs
Conservatives have taken aim at decisions on educating immigrants, race in admissions, and religion. Liberals have some cases in mind, too.
8 min read
supreme court SOC
Law & Courts 'Brown v. Board' Cited in Draft Supreme Court Opinion to Back Overturning Abortion Rights
The leaked opinion in a case still to be decided by the Supreme Court cites landmark decisions including Brown v. Board of Education.
7 min read
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington. A draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices suggests that earlier this year a majority of them had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a report published Monday night in Politico. It's unclear if the draft represents the court's final word on the matter. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft Politico posted, which if verified marks a shocking revelation of the high court's secretive deliberation process, particularly before a case is formally decided.
A crowd gathers outside the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night after the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the court intends to overturn the 1973 <i>Roe v. Wade</i> precedent that legalized abortion nationwide.
Alex Brandon/AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Rules Against Some 'Emotional Distress' Claims. What It Means for Schools
The dissenters say the decision means students cannot recover damages for the emotional harms of race, sex, or disability bias.
5 min read
Image of the Supreme Court.