- Trade groups and nonprofit advocacy groups — including the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe) — are working to develop guidelines for what schools and companies can and cannot do when using student information.
- The organizations will develop frameworks for reviewing terms of agreement and privacy policies to identify areas where private student data could be vulnerable and to establish a more transparent system that lets educators and parents know what kind of access companies have to that data.
- Several districts are working on their own measures: Township High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Ill., is developing a spreadsheet listing 32 of its hosted applications with details on their privacy and security policies, while Houston Independent School District offers a "Software Ratings For Parents" microsite detailing what info is collected about students.
Student data collection, and how third-party companies might use that data, is a contentious topic in K12 right now — and understandably so. Private student data can be misused in a number of ways, from unwanted marketing to something more malicious, so how that data is collected and protected is of utmost concern to parents and educators. And it's something any technology firm working with a district must keep in mind and stay on top of.
After all, if you can't establish that key level of trust, you could end up with a mess like the InBloom deal in New York.