Advancing Student Data Privacy and Interoperability in Iowa

As our world becomes more connected, it’s critical that we – as a district and as a state – develop the capacity to select and utilize data platforms in a manner that guarantees that student and staff data will be accessible, secure, and implemented in a manner that ensures data privacy.

In order to advance this goal, I’ve been working closely with a group comprised of individuals from Iowa’s AEA system, the Iowa Department of Education, and a handful of school districts around the state to form the Iowa Student Data Privacy Alliance.

This group is affiliated with the Student Data Privacy Consortium, a group coordinated by Access 4 Learning (A4L), and has the development of resources, policies, and a student data privacy clearinghouse as goals. This is critical, as statewide privacy agreements and product vetting can be implemented at a level far beyond that of individual school districts, with limited staffing and influence over software and service vendors.

For a few days this week I’m attending A4L’s Privacy & Interoperability Symposium in Washington, D.C., and am both optimistic about the upcoming work of our fledgling student data privacy alliance in Iowa, and sobered by the tremendous amount of work that we need to do in Iowa to advance the work of this group. My optimism, though, is based upon successes that are being shared by other districts and states, and an awareness of the talented and dedicated group of privacy and interoperability advocates at the state, the AEAs, and participating districts to make sure that we’re successful.

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