(AP) The Education Department is encouraging school districts to look more closely at how online educational services protect student privacy.
Online companies provide services such as the collection of school lunch money and portals for accessing homework assignments. Concerns have been raised that private information collected by these companies could be shared publicly or used to market to students' families.
A patchwork of laws spells out how students' data can be used, but the laws can be difficult for districts to interpret.
In voluntary guidelines issued Tuesday, the Education Department encouraged districts to look closely at what online services are used. They suggest that districts develop procedures to evaluate and approve educational services and, when possible, use a written contract or legal agreement. They also spell out applicable federal laws.