Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty write:
Much has been written about the dangers of the proposed Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA), especially the bill’s extension of student data-collection to socioemotional data. But parents should realize the broader privacy problems with government-sponsored education “research.”
Student data-privacy is supposedly protected on the federal level by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In 2012, however, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) gutted FERPA via Obama administration regulation. Among other outrages, the new regulation allows USED (and other entities) to take student personally identifiable information they receive from states or educational institutions and redisclose that data to researchers, without obtaining consent from or even notifying the entities that provided the data in the first place.
So as long as someone claims to be doing research “to improve instruction, administer student aid programs, or develop, validate, or administer predictive tests,” and signs an agreement promising with all his heart to protect confidentiality, he has a good shot of getting his hands on personally identifiable student data.
Read more on Townhall.