From the Chief Information Officer: April 2015

When it come time to write a new newsletter article I always struggle with which topic to focus on. There are so many great things going on throughout ICTS, and the district, it is difficult to select one topic to highlight. I hope you all take the time to read the entire newsletter as many of these programs and initiatives are discussed throughout.

Once again I have chosen to highlight student privacy. This is an issue that permeates everything we do throughout the district with technology. We all have a responsibility to be aware of, and act thoughtfully, when considering student privacy in the 21st century.

Recently there have been numerous articles in the new highlighting the emerging issues around student 
privacy and online applications. 

Here are just a few of the recent articles.

In CPS, we have historically been at the forefront of addressing potential student privacy issues in online applications. Recently, in the last year or so, due to increased publicity around these issues, more organizations have been providing helpful resources to districts. Most of these resources provide information describing the issues and guidance on best practices for local districts and state agencies to ensure student privacy. Here is a sampling of these resources;

In addition to the above newly developed resources, there is a lot of legislative activity, at both the state and federal levels, addressing privacy issues. Across the country a number of states are passing laws often called “Data Privacy Bill of Rights”. Here are some examples;

  • State of New York Parents Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security
  • <a title="California Student Online Personal Information 
Protection Act&nbsp; " target="_blank" href="">California Student Online Personal Information 
Protection Act 
  • The Data Quality Campaign has put together this staggering list of 139 pending, or recently passed, legislation from around the country related to student data privacy.
  • Pending Federal Student Data Privacy Bill

How does the volume of new guidance and pending legislation affect us here in CPS? This is yet to be seen, but I suspect eventually the enterprise marketplace 
for K-12 EdTech applications will begin to conform 
to some sort of national standards around student 
privacy norms. This has the potential to open up access 
to many more very powerful online tools in a secure and private fashion thus enabling CPS to fully take advantage of the emerging tools.

CPS, currently has a robust procedure in place for ensuring student privacy online. This is outlined in this document that was published last fall. We are also making progress in standardizing our Student Data Breach documents with other local school districts so we are all requesting the same protections from the vendors. Lastly CPS is very involved with a small working group that is charged with developing a National Framework for Student Data Privacy that will go a long ways towards creating common ground and understanding 
for vendors and schools when it comes to expected privacy protections.

Student privacy issues raised by the influx of online applications are receiving a great deal of media attention across the country. Although this may seem like a new concern, CPS has been a leader in developing local practices to ensure student privacy for quite some time and the district is well positioned to address any new challenges. In an effort to streamline the current practices around protecting student data in online applications CPS is contributing to developing a National Framework for Student Data Privacy.

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