In today’s installment, the U.S. Education Dept. sidesteps a straightforward question of law.
Valerie Strauss reports:
After I wrote last week about “data walls” in public schools that often include lists of students and their test scores, readers asked whether such public displays of academic “achievement” — without parental permission — violate the federal student privacy law known as FERPA (technically the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). One privacy expert says that such lists can indeed violate FERPA.
A U.S. Education Department spokeswoman says officials there are planning to issue guidance on the overall issue of student privacy soon.
Read more on Washington Post.
Why the USED spokesperson didn’t just give out a flat-out “Yes, that violates FERPA” (as Khaliah Barnes of EPIC did) instead of the non-responsive email they sent Ms. Strauss is exactly why I have no faith in USED to protect student privacy.
Schools often don’t need “guidance.” Sometimes they need a smack upside the head with a “This violates FERPA. Stop doing what you’re doing” message.