About this Issue

Education is changing. New technologies are allowing information to flow within schools and beyond, enabling new learning environments and providing new tools to improve the way teachers teach and the way students learn. Data-driven innovations are bringing advances in teaching and learning but are accompanied by concerns about how education data, particularly student-generated data, are being collected and used.

The Future of Privacy Forum believes that there are critical improvements to learning that are enabled by data and technology, and that the use of data and technology is not antithetical to protecting student privacy. In order to facilitate this balance, FPF equips and connects advocates, industry, policymakers, and practitioners with substantive practices, policies, and other solutions to address education privacy challenges.

Ongoing Projects:

  • FERPA|SHERPA:  FERPA|Sherpa: The Education Privacy Resource Center is a website that helps all education privacy stakeholders learn the basics, keep informed about the latest news, laws, and resources, and better communicate how to ensure education privacy while allowing for the good use of data and technology in education. It includes specific resource pages for K-12 officials, higher ed officials, parents, students, industry, and policymakers.
  • Student Privacy Pledge: FPF and the Software and Information Industry Association created the Student Privacy Pledge in 2014. Education technology providers can sign this voluntary promise regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information; it is legally enforceable. Endorsed by President Obama in 2015, The Pledge now has more than 300 signatories and companies continue to apply to join the Pledge.
  • Working Groups: FPF runs two K-12 privacy working groups: one for ed tech companies, education data advocates, academics, and practitioners to discuss and learn about the latest student privacy issues; and one for district and state privacy leaders focusing on a key topic like training or data incident response.
  • Student Privacy Bootcamps: FPF runs student privacy bootcamps through the U.S. for small and startup ed tech companies to provide training on US privacy laws, best practices, and advocates’ concerns.
  • Privacy Newsletter: FPF’s newsletter provides updates on current events, state and federal legislation, and new resources for subscribers.
  • Tracking State and Federal Legislation: FPF tracks, analyzes, and, as needed, provides comments on state and federal student privacy legislation. FPF members have access to our state legislation tracking sheet for each legislative year.
  • Annual Parent Survey: FPF conducts a survey of parents each year about their perceptions on technology and student data use. The surveys are designed to gain a better understanding of what public school parents actually know and want concerning the use of technology and data within the educational system. FPF conducted our inaugural survey in 2015, Beyond the Fear Factor, and published our second survey, Beyond One Classroom, in 2016.

Top Resources:

  • FPF published the Parents’ Guide to Student Data Privacy in partnership with ConnectSafely and the National PTA; the document is a valuable tool for parents to communicate with schools, providing easy-to-understand descriptions of a student’s (or parents’) rights to educational data under relevant laws. The Parents Guide is available in English and Spanish.
  • FPF published the Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy in partnership with ConnectSafely,  helping teachers utilize technology in the classroom while maintaining awareness of the impact on their students’ privacy. The Guide includes a “quick tips” checklist to help teachers easily analyze the privacy protections of digital resources.
  • 19 Times Data Analysis Empowered Students and Schools is FPF’s report demonstrating the power of data. The report shows schools, districts, parents, and students current trends and outcomes and inspires ways to make those outcomes better.

Working Group Meetings

Education Working Group meetings are generally held bi-monthly on Fridays from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM ET. FPF members are welcome to join these discussions. If you would like call-in information (or to be added to the working group), please contact Amelia Vance at [email protected]. Are you a member of the Working Group? You can access past Working Group notes and resources here.


Want to learn more, join our newsletter or a working group, or become an FPF member? Contact Education Policy Counsel Amelia Vance at [email protected].

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