Springfield update: New (good!) student data transparency bill

In January, RYH Action wrote a student data transparency bill with guidance from Rachael Stickland of the national group Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. As computer usage and data collection increases in public ed, parents have the right to know who is collecting, storing and sharing what data on their children, and this bill would do just that.

You can read a one-pager about this bill here and a backgrounder from Raise Your Hand about why we need better student data privacy protections here.

HB1295 would require school districts to disclose some very basic information to families:

  • a detailed description of what student data is collected or stored by contract providers, i.e. orgs or companies who have a contract with a school district for apps or software, or by the school district itself;
  • complete inventory of on-demand providers of apps or software (ones without a contract) in use in a school district; and
  • procedures for how parents can examine, correct and delete their child’s data, including data held by these third-party software providers.

We knew comprehensive legislation to protect student data privacy would be hard to move due to the nearly infinite resources of the opposition in this area (both the tech industry lobby and the ed privatization lobby), and even this fairly narrow bill was difficult to get filed at all due the reach of those lobbies!

The bill was finally filed as an amendment to an existing bill number, HB1295, late on Tuesday. It had a committee hearing the next morning. It did pass in committee—though with strong opposition and with the requirement that it be renegotiated before it could get a vote on the House floor. There's a negotiation meeting about the bill on Monday in Springfield that Raise Your Hand Action will participate in. 

We don’t know what the prospects for this bill are this session. But unlike last spring’s negotiations of the very problematic student privacy bill SB1796 (which was signed into law last summer), this time around parents from Raise Your Hand Action do have a seat at the table, and the discussion is only happening because it was initiated by the introduction of this bill.

If we are to make short or long-term progress on creating adequate protections for student data privacy and security, state legislators need to hear from parents that they have major concerns about this issue!

Please make a call to your state rep and ask them to sign on as a sponsor to HB1295 and ask that they tell House leadership that they want to see this bill brought to a floor vote.  Parents deserve to know whether their state rep is standing with families or with the tech industry.



[Image used via Creative Commons]