FERPA Bill Introduced in the House
 
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August 2015
 


Shortly before heading home for August recess, Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), John Kline (R-MN), and Bobby Scott (D-VA), all on the House Education and Workforce Committee, introduced the Student Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 3157). As explained in the committee press release, the legislation would update the student privacy protections under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974.

H.R. 3157 evolved from a discussion draft (see May AERA Highlights) circulated earlier this spring. The revised version eliminated a provision from the original draft that was of great concern to education researchers and to AERA: the option for parents to remove the student records of their children from the administrative data systems being used by an “organization conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions.”

“This new edition of the bill shows that the committee has considered comments from the education community,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “Nonetheless, FERPA is a complex act that requires very careful input from many experts so that privacy protections can be enhanced without trading off significant research uses of educational information.”

“In our view, students, families, and teachers would be far better off with the more comprehensive analysis of a Student Privacy Policy Committee in the Hatch-Markey amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” Levine said. “We urge bipartisan support of that strategy as a more promising way of producing genuine improvements.”  

AERA is actively engaged in numerous FERPA discussions in anticipation that student data privacy will be an issue when House and Senate negotiators meet in conference committee to agree on a bicameral reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
 
 
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