Georgia Governor Signs The 'Student Data Privacy, Accessibility, and Transparency Act.'

I was appointed last year to a study committee that looked at the federal role in education. One of the topics that came up was the increased reliance on data schools collect from students. This data is valuable for teachers and educators as it helps them understand how the student is doing, and what areas the student may need help. It also presents challenges. Over time this collection of data can get out of hand by seeking to collect data not necessary to improve classroom instruction, and by collecting data parents might feel is intrusive. I decided to do something about this. So this Legislative session, I introduced HB414, the ‘Student Data Privacy, Accessibility, and Transparency Act.’

After a lot of work on the bill with a broad coalition of education and technology groups, as well as input from the Department of Education, HB414 passed unanimously out of the House Education Committee. It did not make it out of the House Rules Committee in time to be considered by the Senate, but no bill is ever really dead in the Legislature so we began looking for a Senate bill we could attach our bill to. We found one and I’m grateful to Sen. John Albers for allowing us to add HB414 to his bill SB89. The amended bill received final passage on Sine Die and yesterday Governor Deal signed it into law. The ‘Student Data Privacy, Accessibility, and Transparency Act’ has already become a model bill other States, and even Congress, are considering. This important law will limit the education related data schools collect on students and make sure it remains private and secure. For more on this bill, see the press release below from Excellence in Education, one of the many education reform groups that supported this legislation. – Buzz

ExcelinEd Commends Gov. Deal for Signing Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act

Legislation protects student data while responsibly using information to benefit student learning

Tallahassee, Fla. – Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) CEO Patricia Levesque issued the following statement on Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s signing of the Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act (SB 89), sponsored by Senator John Albers and Representative Buzz Brockway. Passed unanimously by both chambers, the comprehensive data privacy law strengthens student protections, empowers parents and supports innovative technology solutions with appropriate safeguards.

“We live in a digital age where information is readily available at our fingertips. When used effectively, data is a vital tool in driving student learning and customizing education for our students. The Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act is the most comprehensive student data privacy bill in the country and puts protections in place to ensure that student data is used responsibly. By addressing all three legs of the stool—data collected by government, data collected by vendors and parental access to their own child’s data—Georgia’s law is a model for other states. We commend Governor Deal, Senator Albers and Representative Brockway and the entire Georgia Assembly for their leadership in building a trusted learning environment that balances the necessary use and safeguarding of student data.”


Background on SB 89, the Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act:

SB 89 creates the “Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act,” which puts in place responsible policies to help safeguard student data and other personal information. Details of the bill include:

– Requires an inventory of data elements being collected, including a reason for why each is collected.
– Gives parents explicit rights to review their child’s education record, and requires schools to provide electronic copies of student records to their parents upon request.
– Avoids unnecessary collection of data that does not belong in an individual student’s educational record, such as a family’s political affiliation, voting record or religion.
– Requires development of a data security plan for the state data system.
– Requires technology providers working with schools to develop appropriate security procedures and prohibits them from selling personal information about students or using it for targeted advertising.
– Provides for the Department of Education to designate a leader to serve as the Chief Privacy Officer.