Focuses on need to protect students, provide tools to parents when information shared with third parties
Washington (May 14, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today released a discussion draft of legislation titled the “Protecting Student Privacy Act”, which would help safeguard the educational records of students. Recent changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) have allowed for the increased sharing and use of student data in the private sector.  The student data shared with private companies may vary from information such as grades, test scores, and attendance records, to other data such as disabilities, family relationships, and disciplinary data. The draft legislation would ensure that students are better protected when data is shared with and held by third parties, and parents are able to control the sensitive information of their children.
Text of the discussion draft can be found HERE.
The discussion draft legislation:

  • Requires that data security safeguards be put in place to protect sensitive student data that is held by private companies;
  • Prohibits the use of students’ personally identifiable information to advertise or market a product or service;
  • Provides parents with the right to access the personal information about their children – and amend that information if it’s incorrect -- that is held by private companies just as they would if the data were held by the school itself;
  • Makes transparent the name of companies that have access to student information by directing school districts to maintain a record of all outside companies with which the school contracts;
  • Minimizes the amount of personally identifiable information that is transferred from schools to private companies;
  • Ensures private companies cannot maintain dossiers on students in perpetuity by requiring the companies to later delete personally identifiable information.