Announcing Sunlight’s Education Data Policy Compendium
In an earlier post, we reviewed some of the data rules and policies adopted by school districts. While many cities, states and counties have made stunning progress in the last few years creating policies and implementing open data programs, few school districts have so far followed their lead. School officials must be careful about what data they release: Very specific information regarding individual students and teachers must be private and secure. However, as Sunlight believes (along with some people in the White House), there can be significant positive benefits to more open aggregated data from school districts.
Sunlight isn’t focused on all the debates around school improvement, but we care deeply about the future of cities and in making sure the public has important information about that future. Given our passion for transparency and the crucial role that education plays in local governance, we want to get a sense of how schools currently treat their data. To find out, and to encourage school district officials to better enshrine open data practices, Sunlight is building a compendium of school districts’ policies, regulations, resolutions, protocols and other rules related to the release of education data. In part because school district language about open data is so rare (compared to city government counterparts), the compendium will include rules on releasing data to outside researchers and provisions for protecting information about individuals.