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Debunking Student Data Privacy

Navigating through the maze of student data privacy laws can be daunting. Teachers, administrators, and IT professionals should not have to spend their time researching whether or not an app complies with the law. They should be able to spend their time deciding whether or not the app is aligned with standards and curriculum goals.

The CA Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA) has been working with the Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost legal team to provide free resources to help ensure student data privacy compliance.

Ask Before You App

This video gives teachers 5 key tips on what to do before downloading an app for the classroom. First, your organization has several policies in regards to privacy. Review these policies regularly and ask your administration any questions you have.  Second, while it does take time, always read the terms and conditions before you download! Third, be sure to consider whether or not all students have access to the technology needed to use the app. Equity is not only important, it is the law. Fourth, the app may require parental consent. Your organization’s policies will spell this out for you as it is not always clear in the terms and conditions. And finally, remember to be a responsible digital citizen and share the habits with your students. Be careful how you show yourself online.

Data Privacy Guidebook

This guidebook explains the state and federal laws, provides sample policy language, has information for both email retention and data breach protocol. This is a great resource for your Superintendent, School Board and any other stakeholder or staff member who is concerned about or working with data privacy. The laws are plentiful and can drive decision making.

This resource was created by the California County Superintendent’s Educational Services Association (CCSESA) and the F3 law team. The document also contains sample policies and protocols.

CA Student Privacy Alliance

The latest laws passed in California, AB 1584 – Ed code 49073.1, created a requirement for all schools to renegotiate their contracts with companies providing technology resources for the classroom.  In addition, the use of apps is increasing exponentially, creating the need for a clear workflow and inventory that streamlines approval so instruction is not interrupted.

CETPA join the Student Data Privacy Coalition and California has led the way for the development of several tools to help with these issues.  All schools can join for free and can start loading the apps used in their district. The tool also allows teachers the ability to request new apps and keeps them informed on the progress of the request. Lastly, the tool provides a standard statewide contract addressing privacy that, when signed by the vendor, ensures the app and the company are compiling with California and Federal laws on privacy.  This contract was developed by F3 and is now being reviewed by multiple states. CETPA and F3 are leading the effort to develop a nationwide standard contract which will help schools and the vendors get apps in the classroom more quickly.

All of this information can be found at http://cetpa.net. You do not have to be a member; the resources are free for all schools.


Andrea Bennett is the Executive Director of the California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA) – the lead sponsoring agency of the CTO Mentor Program. Prior to becoming CETPA’s Executive Director, Andrea served as a director at two of California’s largest school districts; the East Side Union High School District and Oakland Unified.

In total, she has 30 years of experience in K-12 education, including service as a programmer and database manager. At CETPA, she works with the Board of Directors in visioning and planning, plus leads and manages programs to accomplish all CETPA goals and objectives. Ms. Bennett is responsible for CETPA’s liaison activities with external organizations on both a local and national level as well as CETPA events.

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Andrea Bennett