As more of our children's education moves online, there are increased opportunities for abusing the collection of their personal data. Last month, state Senate leader
Under the federal Family and Educational Rights Protection Act, schools that receive federal funding are rightly barred from making disclosures about students' education records without permission. But schools and their direct employees are not the only ones with access to such records. These days, private contractors play an enhanced role in teaching, through online math and language-training games and other Web-based programs. To be effective, they often need to track performance by individual students. Many require students to create a personal online profile, and the resulting data caches often are stored off-site, out of the schools' direct control.
Schools are supposed to be in charge of what private contractors do with student records, but there is significant confusion over what information and which contractors are affected by the law. In response, the
And that's where the loophole comes in. According to the children's advocacy group