Inside Higher Ed reports:
The U.S. Education Department has fired the top federal official charged with protecting student privacy, in what the dismissed official says was a conflict with the agency’s political leaders over their zeal to encourage the collection of data about students’ academic performance.
Paul Gammill was physically escorted out of the department’s offices on a Friday morning last month after he refused to resign as director of the agency’s Family Policy Compliance Office. Administration officials said that “[p]rivacy laws require us to keep certain employment matters confidential, so we cannot comment on Mr. Gammill.”
But Gammill, not so encumbered, maintains that he was dismissed because, on several occasions, he argued in internal meetings and documents that the department’s approach to prodding states to expand their longitudinal student data systems violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of students’ educational records.
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