Education Data Portal Privacy Parent FAQ
- What is the Education Data Portal?
A: New York’s Education Data Portal will provide educators, students, and families with high-quality data tools and educational content to support our schools in delivering excellent instruction while transitioning to the Common Core. Educators will have access to dashboards that provide information about their students and high-quality content, including curriculum modules and videos of teachers demonstrating effective practice. The technology of the Education Data Portal is designed to allow districts to easily and cost-effectively add additional tools and applications beyond those provided by the State at launch. The project is funded through a federal Race to the Top grant and is scheduled for release in the 2013-14 school year.
- Why is NYS partnering with inBloom, a nonprofit organization formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, on the New York State Education Data Portal project?
A: inBloom began as a collaborative initiative with the Council of Chief State School Officers and several states to develop an open, non-proprietary system that will make it easy and cost-effective to get the right data to the tools and applications that districts authorize for use by teachers and families, while also enabling and enforcing federal and local data security and privacy policies.
Technology tools have an important role to play supporting our educators, students, and their families. However, it is frequently inefficient and inconvenient to make these tools available because they do not typically work “out of the box” with school and district data systems. Some teachers have turned in frustration to web-based spreadsheets and other tools to share and view data to help them improve instruction and student learning, but few options exist for making the process both easy and secure.
Rather than use expensive, proprietary “data integration” services to move student data between different tools or applications, including those that make up the Education Data Portal, New York elected to partner with inBloom. inBloom’s non-proprietary services will help make tools available, not only for the initial products deployed through the EDP, but for any product chosen by a district that meets these national standards for data privacy, security, storage, and access. As a nonprofit, inBloom’s mission is to enable participating states and districts to increase their educational technology options, lower costs, and protect data security and privacy.
- Does New York State collect data about my child?
A: The New York State Education Department (SED) maintains a statewide repository of information about New York State students in order to meet its federal and state compliance responsibilities and to support the improvement of educational programs for students. The data maintained by SED are primarily reported to SED by local schools and districts and includes student demographic, enrollment, and state assessment information. SED does not collect or share students’ social security numbers.
- Does New York State send my child’s data to third parties?
A: Virtually all school districts – in New York State and around the country – engage third-party providers or vendors to provide software services necessary for instructional programs and management operations, including products that deliver student information management (e.g., report cards, transcripts), course scheduling, school lunch, school transportation, online course, and local assessment services. So your child’s data is already being shared for these very important purposes.
As with most organizations and individuals today, New York State engages third-party providers or vendors to manage the data and technologies that enable important activities that are part of the State’s mission. SED will provide, in a manner consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), data to its Education Data Portal partners and vendors, including inBloom. Data will be made available for re-disclosure to teachers, students, and families only when authorized by districts for this purpose. Re-disclosure to other parties not authorized by districts is prohibited.
- Will inBloom or any other provider sell my child’s data? Will inBloom or any other provider release my child’s data to third parties other than those expressly selected or authorized by my district?
A: No. All of our Education Data Portal partners and vendors are service providers to the state and to your district. None of these organizations are permitted to access the data or transmit it to third parties unless those third parties are selected or otherwise authorized by your district to provide services to the educators and families in your district. In short, all existing data security and privacy protections remain in full effect; inBloom seeks only to make the process easier and more cost-effective for districts that wish to provide these tools to educators, students, and their families.
- Is my child’s data being sent into “the cloud”?
A: The “cloud” is a general term to refer to many different types and configurations of hardware infrastructure located in third-party managed data centers. Several of our EDP providers will be using third-party hosting services because they are secure, flexible (i.e., able to accommodate peaks in demand without service interruption) and cost effective. All providers are committed to following current federal and state best-practice requirements for this type of hosting.
- What measures are being taken to protect my child’s data?
A: Vendors contracting with New York State to provide data and technology services, whether for the Education Data Portal or any other initiative, sign legally binding confidentiality agreements and are obligated to comply with FERPA and all state policies on data security and privacy. inBloom has made additional commitments to ensure the highest levels of security and privacy protections. You can learn more about inBloom’s privacy commitment here . As noted above, student data is already being shared with third parties for any number of legitimate and necessary purposes that benefit students and families and enhance educators’ ability to teach. Rather than a hodge podge of security measures from every school district across the State, which actually weakens security, inBloom will provide a uniform, high level of security and protection for all student data.
March 26, 2013