Commend President Obama for proposal to protect students when information is shared with third parties


Washington (January 12, 2015) – Washington (January 12, 2015) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today released the following joint statement on the pressing need to act on student privacy. Today, President Obama announced new proposals to safeguard student data, including ensuring school data collected is only used for educational purposes and that student data will not be used for targeted advertising. Last year, the Senators introduced the “Protecting Student Privacy Act”, legislation that would help safeguard the educational records of students. Unfortunately, with nearly all school districts relying on cloud services for a diverse range of functions that include data collection and analysis related to student performance and data hosting, one survey found only 25 percent of districts inform parents of their use of cloud services and 20 percent of districts fail to have policies governing the use of online services. Senator Markey is a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Senator Hatch is a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and chairman of the Finance Committee.    


“We appreciate the President bringing attention to the important issue of protecting student privacy in the 21st century classroom. For the past year, we have been working on this issue in a bipartisan manner, engaging parents, educators, students, industry, and other stakeholders to develop a balanced approach that promotes educational technology opportunities while protecting student privacy. We need to establish security safeguards that ensure greater transparency and access to stored information for students and parents. Our bill provides a middle ground between overly burdensome requirements on schools and educational technology providers, and the transparency that parents rightly demand. It is important that parents know where there student’s information is being shared and that they are offered a pathway to amend information held by third party providers. It is also important that students’ information is used only to better their success in the classroom, and not for other purposes. However, in doing so we must make certain not to impede the exciting and innovative ways technology can help to improve student outcomes.”