A law protecting student data privacy went into effect October 1, and Connecticut districts are required to make sure they’re in compliance.
The public act that passed the Connecticut General Assembly last spring protects classroom data by restricting how student information may be collected and used by certain websites, apps, and board of education contractors that handle student data.
The implementation of this act addresses the over-collection and potential misuse of student, teacher, and classroom-level data. In many cases, this work will ultimately save money by reducing duplicative purchases of technological tools—however coming into compliance is a challenge for districts right now and will continue to be until these tools are all inventoried and their terms of service vetted. Read more
Jenn Jacobsen, director of the Connecticut Alliance for Privacy in Education (CAPE).
“Connecticut is among a small minority of states that have yet to enact legislation pertaining to the protection and use of student data, leaving our children and families inadequately protected,” Jenn Jacobsen, director of the Connecticut Alliance for Privacy in Education (CAPE), told legislators this week.
Jacobsen and other CAPE members testified at a public hearing before the legislature’s Education Committee on HB 5469 An Act Concerning Student Data Privacy.
CEA Research and Policy Development Specialist Ray Rossomando thanked legislators for raising a bill to address the important issue of student data privacy but said that CEA does not support the bill in its current form. Citing a recent case where a Connecticut school district shared sensitive special education data with an outside contractor, Rossomando urged lawmakers to strengthen HB 5469 to prevent similar data releases in the future. Read more
Education Committee members Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, Rep. Gail Lavielle, Rep. Kathleen McCarty, and Rep. Pam Staneski were some of the many lawmakers attending today’s CEA forum.
“Connecticut is at a critical juncture when it comes to student data privacy,” Khaliah Barnes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center told legislators, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens gathered today at a CEA Forum on data privacy. “You have an important opportunity to come up with meaningful solutions to these issues.”
The absence of strong state and federal laws has put the safety, privacy, and civil liberties of children and families at risk, and that brought nearly 100 people to the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to learn what can be done to stop data mining of educational records and protect student privacy.
“The importance of this issue was really brought home to me by concerned parents,” said state Representative Andrew Fleischmann, co-chair of the legislature’s Education Committee and moderator of the first half of the forum. “They did not think sufficient protections are in place.”
Fleischmann was one of many legislators who attended the forum, expressing support for new state laws to protect students’ privacy. “The legislators here today, and others who are not here, are very committed to this issue,” Fleischmann said.
Fleischmann and his Education Committee co-chair Senator Gayle Slossberg plan to introduce a student data privacy bill this legislative session, which begins February 3. Read more