What is SOPPA?
By July 1, 2021, all school districts in the state of Illinois will guarantee that any student data collected by any website used within the district is safe for students to use. This means that each site must have on file with the district a legal agreement to protect student information and it outlines the consequences if it does not.
This act also allows parents to opt out of having data collected on any of their students. This is going to be interesting as it includes all the sites we use for local and national testing. If a parent decides to opt out, does that mean a student no longer has to test? I guess we will find out soon enough!
Where to find more information on SOPPA?
There is a lot of information online about this new law. Here are a few links for you to use to read up on your own.
What Information is considered student data?
Student data is any information pertaining to the student including but not limited to:
This information can be updated and changed but this is what has been presented to me and my understanding of the information at this time.
Is SOPPA a Good Thing?
Yes! Our students need to be protected! It is sad that there are people out there who want to disrupt the educational process but we have seen too many stories over the last year. While this will limit access our students have to information, it is also the only way to protect them from harm.
What Changes Can We Expect?
Any website that collects student information must be approved by the school district you work for. A legal agreement has to be signed. This applies to both free and paid for sites. Many resources we once used will no longer be available if an agreement cannot be signed.
This includes personal websites of teachers (like my own). I am planning on leaving my website as a reference as many homeschool families use it but I will not be updating it nor will I be sharing it with my class in the future.
IF a site does not collect any data from students and the teacher is simply presenting it (no student access to the link) from my understanding that can still be shared. This is one of those we will have to wait and see what the answer really is kind-of-deals.
More Questions Waiting to Be Answered
As we all know, when a new law comes out there are often more questions than answers at the beginning. We have to figure out exactly how to implement this information and how it affects students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders. Only time will give us all the answers we seek.
What are your thoughts on this new law?
Until Next Time,
Hi! My name is Misty. I am a 6th Grade ELA Teacher, Mama of 5, and author of The Path to Passionate Teaching.