Holding Educators Accountable in the State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s Student Data Accessibility, Transparency & Accountability Act, also known as HB 1989, is a student data protection law that was passed in 2013. As the name of the law suggests, Oklahoma’s HB 1989 passed to ensure that the Oklahoma State Board of Education, as well as school administrators and educators that teach students within jurisdictions in the state, collect and manage the personal data of students in a manner that is consistent with the principles of transparency and accountability. To this point, the law outlines the steps and measures that the Oklahoma State Board must take to ensure that the personal information of students around the state is safeguarded from unauthorized access.
How is student data defined under the law?
Under Oklahoma’s Student Data Accessibility, Transparency & Accountability Act, student data is defined as “data collected and/or reported at the individual student level included in a student’s educational record.” On the other end of the spectrum, the law defines de-identified data to mean “a student dataset in which parent and student identifying information, including the state-assigned student identifier, has been removed.” Furthermore, the law defines aggregate data as “data collected and/or reported at the group, cohort, or institution level.”, while a data system refers to the “Oklahoma State Department of Education student data system.”
What are the duties of the OK State Board of Education under the law?
The Oklahoma State Board of Education has a number of responsibilities and obligations under the provisions of Oklahoma’s Student Data Accessibility, Transparency & Accountability Act as it concerns safeguarding the personal data and privacy of K-12 students within the state. These duties include but are not limited to:
- The Oklahoma State Board of Education is responsible for creating and publishing a data inventory, dictionary, or index of data elements, including definitions for all the data elements that will be collected from students. Moreover, this information must also be made publicly available.
- The Oklahoma State Board of Education is responsible for developing and implementing publicly available security measures and policies for the purpose of protecting the personal data of students statewide, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA.
- The Oklahoma State Board of Education is responsible for creating a detailed security plan that includes data breach planning, privacy compliance standards, and guidelines for accessing student data systems, among other pertinent details.
- The Oklahoma State Board of Education is required to provide annual notification to both the Governor and State Legislature concerning any changes or alterations to the policies, security measures, or practices that the body uses to safeguard the personal data of K-12 students around the state.
What data elements are covered under the law?
Under Oklahoma’s Student Data Accessibility, Transparency & Accountability Act, some of the data elements relating to K-12 students within the state that are protected from unauthorized use, access, deletion, and dissemination include:
- State and national assessment results.
- Course taking and completion information.
- Transcript information, including credits earned.
- Course grades and grade point averages.
- Attendance and mobility information.
- Degrees and diplomas.
- Special education data.
- Demographic information.
- Program participation information.
- Email addresses.
- Home addresses.
- Disciplinary records.
Maintaining compliance with the law
As the Oklahoma State Board of Education is charged with ensuring the privacy of the personal data of thousands of students across the state, the body is undoubtedly faced with a daunting task. To this end, one way that educators within Oklahoma can maintain compliance with HB 1989 is through the use of automatic redaction software. Through the use of such programs, educators can effectively redact the personal data of thousands of individuals in a matter of minutes, allowing said educators to prevent this data from entering the wrong hands. As such, these educators in question can have the assurance that the personal data of their respective students will only be used to further their educational goals.
As K-12 students, just like any other individual within modern society, will disclose certain forms of personal data concerning themselves when looking to pursue certain opportunities, legislation must be put in place to protect this data from those who would use such information for nefarious purposes. Within the state of Oklahoma, this legislation has taken the form of the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency & Accountability Act. Through the enactment of this law, parents and guardians within Oklahoma can have the peace of mind that the privacy of their school-aged children is being safeguarded from potential harm.