Ed Tech and Kathy Styles Discuss : Protecting Student Data

The Department of Education’s Kathleen Styles wants schools to proactively protect sensitive student information.

The emergence of Big Data in education has created a paradox for K–12 schools. On one side, a tantalizing analytical engine by which to gauge student and institutional progress. On the other, a potential security threat that needs to be handled with care.

As Chief Privacy Officer for the U.S. Department of Education, Kathleen Styles is the federal government’s foremost authority on issues related to student data and privacy. A primary adviser to Secretary Arne Duncan, Styles heads up the department’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), a repository of guidance and information designed to help educators navigate the opportunities, and the potential pitfalls, of student data use.

As schools look for opportunities to leverage data in the classroom, Styles talked with EdTech: Focus on K-12 about the responsible collection of sensitive information, the need for transparency, and why it’s important for every school system to establish guidelines for the responsible management, use and protection of valuable student data.

Access the complete Q&A.

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