Yes the students signed FERPA waivers, but did they really expect this? Also can students sign this for themselves? It would seem that the spirit, if not the letter, of state and federal privacy laws were violated by the State Board of Education and Oklahoma Department of Education. It’s one thing to have their information discussed as a board is in executive session, but quite another for their information to be posted on the internet for all to see.
Hours after the State Board of Education deliberated behind closed doors over seven students’ appeals for exemptions from high-stakes testing requirements, state officials posted the private educational records of each of those students on the state website.
All seven students were denied an exemption from the law that requires high school seniors to pass at least four of seven end-of-instruction tests to earn a diploma.
The Internet posting includes names, grade point averages, school districts, learning disabilities, test scores and other information. Addresses and phone numbers were redacted.
It prompted an outcry Wednesday from Tulsa-area educators and attorneys who said the state Department of Education’s action violates state and federal educational privacy laws.
Under a new law allowing students to appeal for an exemption from testing requirements under the Achieving Classroom Excellence – or ACE – law, students are required to sign a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act waiver to enter the appeals process.
But educators say that waiver doesn’t cover placing students’ private information on the Internet.
“This is just a violation of even common courtesy, as well as FERPA, which is federal law,” Union Superintendent Cathy Burden said. “This is exposing confidential test information, by name, of students who hadn’t anticipated such a thing. I’m just kind of appalled. We would never do this. It’s just common professionalism.”