The U.S. Department of Education is being sued by a nonprofit organization, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, for promoting regulations that are alleged to undercut student privacy and parental consent, even allowing third parties, including private companies, to get access to private student information.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as FERPA, was passed to give parents specific rights concerning their children’s education records, rights which transfer to the student when he/she becomes 18, or goes on in school.
Stephanie Simon of Reuters reported about a new $100 million database built primarily with Gates Foundation money that already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and Social Security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded and attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school, even homework completion.
Even in our Washington Legislature parents’ and students’ rights are being attacked. Currently before the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee, HB 1934 is being considered to bypass fit parents’ rights and allow third parties visitation of a child through petition of courts, lawyers and legal procedures against the parents’ wishes.