Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor

Privacy Concerns Often Ignored by Reformers

January 06, 2014 1 min read

To the Editor:

A sentence in your recent article on data collection and student privacy (“Group’s Model Bill Aims to Protect Privacy of Student Data,” Dec. 11, 2013) seems extraordinarily accurate. The excerpt in question: “Other advocacy groups and industry representatives … praised the efforts as good first steps, but expressed concern over a lack of substantive details, particularly when it comes to placing limits on the noneducational uses of student data by third-party vendors.”

My organization, Restore Oklahoma Public Education, or ROPE, has studied student privacy in conjunction with education “reform” measures for several years now. As a consequence of our research, we have become increasingly alarmed at the amount of data being collected under the auspices of education “reform” and the lack of student privacy accompanying this push.

In early 2012, we approached state Rep. David Brumbaugh, a Republican, to author legislation requiring parental consent for data collected through K-12 public schools. His bill, HB 1989, delivered just that. The parental-consent provision was later stripped, however.

Though we believe it is important for the state to be transparent with parents regarding data-collection practices, we believe our children will neither be protected from the onslaught of cloud-based data mining currently occurring within district schools, nor from the amount of student-level data-sharing presently occurring at the state and federal levels, until parental consent becomes the primary issue.

We find it unfortunate this particular bill has become the touchstone for a model American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, bill. In our estimation, this bill epitomizes the frustration felt by ordinary citizens—such as those in ROPE—who try to effect governmental change in order to provide protections to their children that the government itself has not upheld.

While we appreciate the efforts of our legislators, until the citizens they serve become the primary voices in legislation such as this, these kinds of bills will protect no one but the entities in power—those from whom we seek protection.

Jenni White


Restore Oklahoma Public Education

Arcadia, Okla.

A version of this article appeared in the January 08, 2014 edition of Education Week as Privacy Concerns Often Ignored by Reformers


School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,
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.
Education Funding Webinar
From Crisis to Opportunity: How Districts Rebuild to Improve Student Well-Being
K-12 leaders discuss the impact of federal funding, prioritizing holistic student support, and how technology can help.
Content provided by Salesforce.org
Classroom Technology Online Summit Technology & the Pandemic: What’s Next for Schools?
When it comes to the use of technology, what’s next for schools?  Join the discussion to tackle issues surrounding this important question.

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

Ed-Tech Policy Q&A Acting FCC Chair: The 'Homework Gap' Is an 'Especially Cruel' Reality During the Pandemic
Under the new leadership of Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is exploring broadening the E-Rate to cover home-connectivity needs.
5 min read
Internet connectivity doesn't reach all the houses
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty
Ed-Tech Policy Millions of Students Got Free Home Internet for Remote Learning. How Long Will It Last?
Time and money are running out on temporary agreements between districts and ISPs. Broadband advocates want a federal solution.
10 min read
Cupped hands hold a precious wi-fi symbol
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Digital Vision Vectors/Getty
Ed-Tech Policy FCC Takes One Step Closer to Offering E-Rate Funds for Remote Learning Technology
Advocates have urged the FCC to loosen its rules on E-Rate funds so schools can pay for technology that helps students learn remotely.
2 min read
Andrew Burstein, 13, participates in a virtual class through Don Estridge High Tech Middle School in Delray Beach, Fla., this school year.
Andrew Burstein, 13, participates in a virtual class through Don Estridge High Tech Middle School in Delray Beach, Fla., this school year.
Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
Ed-Tech Policy New York Banned Facial Recognition in Schools. Will Other States Follow?
New York schools are prohibited from using the widely criticized biometric identifying technology until at least July 2022.
3 min read
Girl looking into smartphone facial recognition