Work Smarter Not Harder: How New York Leveraged Existing Education Services Infrastructure to Comply with New Privacy Laws

Work Smarter Not Harder: How New York Leveraged Existing Education Services Infrastructure to Comply with New Privacy Laws

What Can States Learn From New York’s Approach to Student Privacy?

New Future of Privacy Forum analysis highlights the benefits of New York’s regional, shared-services approach to implementing its student privacy policies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a global non-profit focused on privacy and data protection, released its latest analysis of state-level student privacy policy, Work Smarter Not Harder: How New York Leveraged Existing Education Services Infrastructure to Comply with New Privacy Laws. As state policymakers continue to be at the forefront of student privacy, the New York case study, based on independent research and analysis, aims to spotlight and share effective approaches and key lessons learned and follows the publication of a similar report on Utah.

“New York is an important model both for their student privacy law, which is one of the most comprehensive in the country, and for the way they have gone about implementation and compliance,” said Bailey Sanchez, FPF Youth & Education Privacy policy counsel and an author of the report. “By leveraging its existing infrastructure to develop and disseminate valuable resources and guidance to districts, the state has taken care to ensure that implementation is both practical and effective. This approach ultimately eases the compliance burden for districts, helps prevent duplication of resources, and also allows for regional flexibility, which can be especially valuable in a large state like New York.”

Work Smarter Not Harder provides an overview of New York’s current education privacy laws and infrastructure, which is centered on regional shared service organizations. When New York’s primary student privacy law, Education Law 2-D, was enacted in 2014, those regional organizations became helpful tools for implementing the law and subsequent regulations. 

In addition to the ESA or regional implementation model used in New York, other common approaches to student privacy implementation and compliance include a:

  • Centralized, state approach: In Utah, student privacy resources are largely held by the state and funneled to districts in the form of staff support. Read more about Utah’s approach.
  • Membership organization: In Califonia, education privacy professionals can join California IT in Education (CITE), a membership organization that provides resources and support to IT professionals working in schools.
  • Multi-state cooperative: Districts in New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine) can enroll in The Education Cooperative (TEC) Student Data Privacy Alliance to receive services when negotiating privacy agreements with edtech vendors.

“There are multiple approaches to student privacy, and what works in one state may not work in another – for example, the one-size-fits-all model Utah uses may not work for a state as large as New York, and vice versa,” added David Sallay, FPF’s Director of Youth & Education Privacy. “We hope that by highlighting a variety of best practices, policymakers can take away new insights and ideas based on the needs and existing infrastructure of their states.”

Work Smarter Not Harder is the FPF Youth & Education Privacy team’s latest publication highlighting state-level policy insights, joining its analyses of California’s Age Appropriate Design Code and Utah’s social media bills. A previous case study, Utah Leads the Way in Protecting Student Privacy: A Case Study in K-12 Student Privacy Best Practices, was released last fall

To access the Youth & Ed team’s child and student privacy resources, visit and follow the team on Twitter at @SPrivacyCompass.

About FPF

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a global non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies. FPF’s Youth & Education Privacy program works to protect child and student privacy while allowing for data and technology use that can help young people learn, grow, develop, and succeed. Learn more at