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Research Report: Protecting Students’ Privacy and Advancing Digital Equity

Center for Democracy & Technology |

To help policymakers, educators, parents, and students better understand and address these complexities, CDT conducted original polling and focus group research on the views of those who have the most at stake. Their research informs a report outlining key recommendations for education leaders to ensure responsible, effective student data and education technology.


  • Half of teachers surveyed say they received no substantial training to protect data privacy. Only four in 10 parents reported that schools discussed their data protection practices.
  • The report recommends prioritizing privacy-focused teacher training and communicating with parents how their children’s data is being protected. Schools are providing devices to students at twice the rate they did before pandemic-induced school closures, jumping from 43% to 86%.
  • School leaders can also close the digital divide and reduce inequity by adopting the practices of special educators, who the report indicates have outperformed their peers in this area. These educators reported more familiarity with — and greater concern for — student data privacy, with a majority saying their schools have improved policies on protecting student data and information.