Recap: School Data Study Committee Meeting

img_0236The Legislative Council Study Committee on School Data, chaired by state Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), held its third meeting on Wednesday, September 14.  The committee heard presentations from information University of Wisconsin – Madison researchers, two data policy experts, and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

Three UW-Madison professors (Robert Meyer, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Eric Camburn, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and Eric Grodsky, Sociology) testified on the importance of longitudinal student data in their research. Identifying best practices at successful schools was one example of research that would not have been possible without the availability of student data from the DPI. They also spoke to the steps and best practices researchers use to keep data secure.

Benjamin Silberglitt, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, CedarLabs, LLC argued that districts should maintain control of their data and vendors must have clear privacy policies reviewed by unbiased experts.  He also stressed that data privacy must extend all the way to the end-user and using carrots to encourage best practice at the local level.  See his presentation.

Doug Mesecar, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, IO Education talked about industry best practices around student data privacy including having a state data privacy officer. He argued that person would own it and be responsible for constant vigilance.  See his presentation.

The committee then discussed various options for legislation that I will discuss in my next post.