Giving Compass' Take:

• A survey from the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) shows that despite concerns for data privacy for students during remote learning, parents have positive attitudes toward education technology. 

• How can schools be mindful of data privacy while embracing edtech during the pandemic?  What support might educators need right now? 

•  Learn more about technology in school districts during COVID-19. 

Parents are concerned about their children’s online safety and data privacy, but not as much as other issues such as the quality of education their child receives, protection from violence and bullying, and ensuring their child doesn’t fall behind in school.

That’s according to the approximately 1,200 parents surveyed by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) between mid-May and early June of this year. The nonprofit CDT therefore classifies student online and data privacy as a “mid- to low-level” concern for parents.

Still, parents further answered that they are equally responsible (52 percent) for their students’ data privacy as their child’s school administrators are. Yet many parents said they are not aware of the legal rights for protecting their child’s data privacy, nor of the technology plans in place in their child’s school or district.

“Parents see themselves as responsible for children’s privacy, even though they report feeling ill-equipped” to manage it, says Elizabeth Laird, senior fellow of student privacy for the Washington, D.C.-based CDT.

However, Laird notes, the legal framework in education does not allow for any control or input from parents. Schools are the ones legally responsible for protecting student data.

The more parents learn about student data privacy, the more concerned they become, the survey found. And parents of elementary school-aged children, African-American parents, Hispanic parents, and those with higher incomes report higher overall concern for this issue than other parents.

The survey is the first in a series from the CDT about perceptions of student data privacy. Forthcoming reports will share results from focus groups with parents, focus groups with students, and a poll of teachers.

Beyond student data privacy, the May survey of parents asked them about their general perceptions of technology-aided learning.

“What we were surprised by is how tech-positive parents were, in terms of being proponents of technology, especially in light of the pandemic,” Laird says. “The pandemic hasn’t resulted in parents not supporting the use of online learning in the future.”

Read the full article about data privacy by Emily Tate at EdSurge.