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Privacy Policy Yanks Popular Software from Chicago Classrooms


hand pulls shade covering a PC screen, illustration

Credit: Axios

Some Chicago Public Schools teachers say they were "blindsided" by the district's enforcement of a law that's led them to lose access to key programs used to teach computer science and other courses.

"We're depriving hundreds of thousands of students from proven effective, often free resources," says Jeff Solin, who teaches computer science at Lane Tech High School.

The way CPS officials have applied the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA) means popular educational programs like Code.org, which is widely used in computer science classes, Scratch, used to create interactive stories and introduce coding concepts, and Adobe applications are off limits.

Other districts in Illinois have developed SOPPA compliance contracts by joining the Illinois Student Privacy Alliance, and as a result can use software that is no longer available to CPS students.

Cassie Creswell of Illinois Families for Public Schools helped author the new data privacy act and said CPS's stringent interpretation of the law has resulted in an "onerous" contracting process.

From Chicago Sun-Times
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