TULSA — A new national survey by The Center for Democracy & Technology indicates that parents have real concerns about the use of technology in classrooms, as well as what information students are allowed to access as opposed to what gets blocked.
Yet, the findings of the CDT survey also indicate that parents rarely get consulted when those decisions get made.
“If one thing came through very clearly in our research, it’s that parents want to become involved,” Elizabeth Laird told KRMG Wednesday.
Laird is Director of Equity in Civic Technology at CDT.
“We actually saw a 12 percentage point increase in parents being concerned about student privacy over last year,” Laird said, adding that “their concerns are high, and they’re rising. They want to be involved, and schools are not finding meaningful ways to involve them.”
Her recommendation is that parents begin asking questions, and she offered some examples.
With one in five parents reporting that they’re aware of a data breach at their children’s school, she recommends asking how prepared the school is to handle such breaches.
With schools blocking information or data from students, she thinks parents should ask what, specifically, is getting blocked and why.
Perhaps just as importantly, parents should ask who makes those decisions, and on what specific criteria those decisions are made.
She thinks parents should know if anyone monitors the students’ use of the Internet outside of the classroom; that has also become an issue, with law enforcement often involved without the knowledge or consent of parents, according to Laird.
And finally, she thinks parents need to know if the school has specific policies about the use of artificial intelligence by students, and the consequences for any possible cheating or other misuse of the technology.
“Hopefully,” she said, “more and more parents, as they learn more, can demand better of their schools, because they deserve that.”