Parents Rights To Student Data Privacy



New Website Developed in Partnership with National PTA,


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monday, April 27, 2015 – As the digital revolution continues to transform students’ learning, how teachers instruct in classrooms, and the way schools gather pupil data and information to improve education, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) today unveiled a new, timely web resource to provide clear and straightforward overviews of parents’ rights to student data under the various relevant federal laws in effect.


“A Parent’s Guide to Student Data Privacy Rights”, developed and published in partnership with the National PTA and, is a valuable tool for parents seeking answers and guidance related to major federal laws on education privacy, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), as well as other laws and policies. It is also designed to help parents better communicate on these topics with teachers, schools and school districts.


“As data and technology use expands to improve educational outcomes, the focus needs to stay on parents and students, and it is essential for parents to understand how their children’s information is being handled and used,” said Jules Polonetsky, Executive Director, FPF. “We developed this guide with the National PTA and ConnectSafely to help parents understand the laws that protect student data and their rights under these laws.  We live in an increasingly connected world, but whether the information is online or on paper, the basic privacy and access rights remain the same.”


The free, digital guide also includes a list of additional resources on topics related to student privacy from organizations such as:


  • National PTA
  • ConnectSafely
  • Future of Privacy Forum
  • S. Department of Education
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Fordham University School of Law


Some of the common questions that are answered in the guide include:


  • Who has access to information about children?
  • What is COPPA and when does it apply to information from students?
  • Are there other laws about student data?
  • What about companies that provide online tools to schools?
  • When do I have the choice to “opt out” of my child’s information being shared?
  • Your child’s data: How to gain access, make corrections, or request deletion


“Technology and the Internet are powerful tools for teaching and learning, but at the same time, it is imperative that students’ academic and personal information is protected,” said Otha Thornton, Jr., President, National PTA. “It is a top priority of National PTA to safeguard children’s data and make certain that parents have appropriate notification and consent as to what and how data is collected and used. National PTA is pleased to collaborate with the Future of Privacy Forum and to bring the Parents’ Guide to Student Data Privacy to families nationwide to ensure they are knowledgeable about the laws that protect student data as well as students’ and parents’ rights under the laws.”


“As schools increase the use of technology and student data, parents have privacy concerns regarding their children’s information,” said Olga Garcia-Kaplan, parent and advocate for student data privacy. “This guide provides a clear and concise explanation for parents to understand their rights and laws that are in place to protect their privacy.”


The guide is part of FPF’s “FERPA|SHERPA” website, which provides service providers, parents, school officials, and policy makers easy access to laws, best practices, and guidelines that are essential to understanding privacy issues in education and how to responsibly use student data.


About Future of Privacy Forum

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. The forum is led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf and includes an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups. For more information, visit


Media Contact

Nicholas Graham, for Future of Privacy Forum

[email protected]