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On January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) amended its rules for administering the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The FERPA amendments included definitions for two previously undefined terms, ‘‘authorized representative’’ and ‘‘education program,’’ and modified the term “directory information.” The FERPA changes expand the scope of the current definition of “education,” more broadly define the personal information that can be released to include biometric information, and delimit parental involvement in the decision to release “directory” information.
While the privacy law changes might appear benign, in the context of an evolving national curriculum standard (viz., Common Core State Standards) and integration of local, state, and federal education information systems (viz., Longitudinal Data Systems), relaxation of privacy laws facilitates the federal control of education just like the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) moves the United States one step closer to socialized medicine. Whereas, PPACA will determine who receives what health services, national education will determine who receives what education. The potential for federal abuse is self-evident.
Virginia Education Coalition (VEC) calls upon Virginia local, state, and federal elected representatives to enact laws that block the federal expansion of both existing and new regulations that do or can limit, in any manner, a parent’s or student’s right to protect personal, individual data from release to third-parties without their knowledge or permission.