House Education Panel Debates Student-Data-Privacy
By guest blogger Benjamin Herold.
Congress is still wrestling with a basic question: How to use educational data to improve schools, without further jeopardizing student privacy?
That was the subject taken up by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, in a 90-minute hearing on "Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education."
Should any bipartisan clarity ever be reached, there could be significant implications for ongoing attempts to update or rewrite federal student-data-privacy laws, as well as for proposals on the Hill to codify into law recommendations issued last fall by the Congressionally appointed Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking.
But the takeaway from Tuesday's hearing--or at least from the expert witnesses assembled to offer their insights--seemed to be that there's a still ways to go.
"There are no silver bullets that make data useful for good purposes but [immune to] privacy violations," said Georgetown law professor and privacy expert Paul Ohm, a member of the Congressional commission.