The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the central federal law that governs access to student information. Most significantly, FERPA grants parents the right to access and review their child’s education record. Signed into law by President Gerald Ford on August 21, 1974, today marks FERPA’s 40th birthday.
Here are some of the many resources DQC has produced to explain this important law to policymakers and the public:
A Stoplight for Student Data Use—This infographic summarizes some of the main provisions of FERPA and identifies when students’ personally identifiable information may be shared under the law.
Getting the Facts Straight about Education Data—This brief, easy-to-read document addresses common misunderstandings about federal policies that relate to education data, including FERPA. In particular, it clarifies the motivation for and impact of the 2008 and 2011 regulatory changes.
As we look forward to the next 40 years, there’s an increasing need to examine how existing education privacy policies apply to developing technologies and the new ways data are generated. This work involves an increased role for state policymakers in safeguarding student information. It may also mean some adjustments to FERPA are needed down the road to extend its protections, especially as new technologies are developed for capturing student education data.
"The problems out there are enormous and too large for any one entity to tackle on its own. It does take a collective approach, with the school districts working together with business leaders and community partners, to really address the underlying challenges facing families.” —David Jansen, Fresno Unified School District
Join the Data Quality Campaign and StriveTogether for a webinar this Tuesday, August 26, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) to learn about a set of new resources—and the network of educators and nonprofits that are working to expand them—to help schools and their community partners protect and use data to work together more effectively. The new set of resources will be released by StriveTogether the week of August 25, 2014, with additional resources released this Fall.
The element that distinguishes collective impact from other modes of cooperation to improve youth achievement is rigor. This rigor—to not only prove, but constantly improve—is founded on the smart use of data, shared within and among schools and community partners and used to identify and spread effective practices across programs and systems. School-community collaboration is not simply about scaling an individual program or evidence-based practice; it’s about using data to improve decisionmaking at all levels, all of the time.