To address student data privacy issues, ‘start where you are’

In recent years, hundreds of student data privacy bills have been written — and many have passed — across the United States. These efforts, intended to create a safer climate for students using technology, also have the unintended outcome of leaving many schools and districts feeling overwhelmed.

“Whether it’s training for teachers, working with vendors, or just sorting your own data and understanding if you’re protecting it properly, how do you start?” Linnette Attai, a compliance consultant and president of PlayWell LLC, tells EdScoop TV.

“Start where you are, keep it simple,” she answers. “It’s really easy to get lost in the conversation, complexity, scrutiny, fear.”

That could mean having staff and students create more secure passwords one year, or it could mean putting up posters around school buildings to raise awareness about privacy issues and offer tips on how to stay safe. Small changes can have big implications, she says.

“Obviously, we want to see more, but … these little accomplishments really help to build confidence and momentum around the issues,” Attai says.

These ideas are among those outlined in Attai’s new book , “Student Data Privacy: Building a School Compliance Program,” which comes out this summer. The book will serve as “a guide for schools and districts who are just getting started,” she says, and will help those schools create their own “culture of compliance.”

Learn more about Attai’s views on student data privacy, including why she thinks schools should be wary of bringing commercial technology into classrooms:

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