Utah Leads the Way in Protecting Student Privacy: A Case Study in K-12 Privacy Best Practices
FPF’s new case study, Utah Leads the Way in Protecting Student Privacy: A Case Study in K-12 Privacy Best Practices, highlights Utah’s policy efforts to create sustainable student privacy practices. By evaluating Utah’s student privacy policies and interviewing USBE staff and other key stakeholders, FPF’s analysis outlines the practical steps that Utah has taken to establish sustainable, ongoing student privacy practices.
Student data privacy concerns continue to be a central issue for policymakers, schools, parents, and children. USBE’s efforts to collaborate at the state and district level demonstrate how state’s can address these concerns by creating a privacy-focused culture within the education system.
Utah Leads the Way in Protecting Student Privacy provides an overview of Utah’s key student privacy policies and the main stakeholders involved in the system, as well as an analysis of the strategies and tactics that can serve as a model for other states. Some of the key takeaways highlighted in the report include:
- Methodical collaboration leads to better results. While policymakers often face pressure to respond quickly to a given issue, Utah started by commissioning a small report. The state ultimately took more than a year to develop its student data privacy legislation, as the legislature engaged with parties throughout the process to minimize unintended consequences and ultimately empower and prepare the USBE to effectively implement the law.
- Ongoing dedicated funding is critical to support both infrastructure and staffing. While most state student privacy legislation is unfunded, dedicated funding in Utah to create a Student Data Privacy Office has proven critical to the state’s success. Funding, including for expert, dedicated staff, has allowed the state to implement, follow, and oversee essential student data privacy practices.
- Keep learning and improving: Mandated training at the state (tied to teacher relicensure) and local levels, ongoing reporting requirements, and the development and distribution of high-quality resources by USBE’s dedicated staff all serve to keep privacy top of mind. And good working relationships between the USBE and local districts have created continual feedback and learning opportunities for both parties.
As states continue to grapple with student privacy issues, FPF has identified Utah as an important model for student privacy best practices. Not only has Utah thoughtfully passed legislation, but stakeholders have also implemented the law in a practical way. Utah decided to invest money in student privacy, and that investment has brought people who have the capacity to implement, follow, and oversee processes.