May 28, 2017 10:14 pm

The Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy

Published by

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy (PCSP) and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) have created a new resource to help parents protect their children’s educational data – at a time when nearly all schools are collecting more and more data, storing it digitally, and sharing it with a wide variety of third parties or allowing vendors to collect it directly from their children.

The Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy: A Guide to Protecting Your Child’s Sensitive School Data from Snoops, Hackers, and Marketers is a vital resource and fundamentally different from other privacy resources available, most of which have been developed by the ed tech industry or groups whose stated goal is expanding the collection and use of student data.

Available free on PCSP and CCFC‘s websites, this Toolkit offers clear explanations about what rights parents already have in federal law to protect their children’s privacy, what red flags to look for in the privacy policies of vendors offering classroom apps or programs, and most importantly, what steps parents can take to advocate for best practices at their children’s schools.

Why is it so important to give parents knowledge and advocacy tools? As shown during the controversy over inBloom, an $100 million corporation funded by the Gates Foundation and designed to collect and share vast amounts of student data from nine states and districts, parents can overcome the wealthiest and most powerful actors when they are sufficiently aroused and informed. inBloom formally launched as a separate corporation in March 2013 and within only 13 months had shut down, as states and districts one by one pulled out because of parent protests.

More than 65 state student privacy laws have been passed since the inBloom controversy first erupted; yet few if any of them are strong enough to ensure children’s data is safe from breach or abuse. Just in the last few weeks, there have been breaches of sensitive data by two major school vendors, Schoolzilla and Edmodo, and we have ongoing serious concerns with the lack of privacy protections for the voluminous student data collected by the College Board and the Summit/Facebook learning platform, among others.

The Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy can be downloaded at You can also watch a webinar co-hosted by PCSP, CCFC and Parents Across America to help parents use the toolkit’s resources.