Urgent action needed to stop Congress from passing what can only be described as an unprecedented assault on student privacy and parental rights. This assault comes in the form of three bills floating around Congress, one of which – H.R. 4174 The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (FEPA)—could be voted on as early as this Wednesday.
- The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (FEPA) (H.R. 4174, S. 2046), which would create a “unified evidence-building plan” for the entire federal government – in essence, a national database containing data from every federal agency on every citizen; and
- The College Transparency Act (CTA) (H.R. 2434, S. 1121), which would overturn the Higher Education Act’s ban on a federal student unit-record system and establish a system of lifelong tracking of individuals by the federal government; and
- The Student Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 3157), which would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g, without restoring the FERPA privacy protections that were gutted by regulatory fiat in 2012.
Special interests that want increased access to highly personal student data for their own benefit have mounted a massive lobbying campaign to achieve their goals with respect to each of these bills. The bottom line is that bureaucrats in the Administrative State, as well as researchers, want a vast trove of data they can access to examine freeborn American citizens as lab rats – without their consent or even their knowledge.
Please read the one-pagers copied below which briefly address the most serious problems associated with each of these bills. Applicable to all three discussions are two other fundamental problems. The first is that the federal government has demonstrated its utter incompetence at protecting the security of individual data (see here, here, here, and here). Expanding the pool of data that will be so enticing to hackers is more than unwise – it’s madness.
- CEP one-pager final Nov 10
- CTA one-pager Nov 7
- FERPA One-Pager JR
- Privacy assault letter final Nov 11 10am
But the more fundamental problem is this: Even if the data could be maintained with 100% security, and even if students could somehow benefit from collection and sharing of their own confidential data, there are certain lines a free society should not cross. Increasing the government repository of highly personal data further entrenches the Administrative State – the Swamp, if you will – which will inevitably use that data to increase its own power. The mere presence of such data with the government has an intimidating effect on the citizen, whose freedom of action is necessarily limited by his awareness of government surveillance. This is a feature of totalitarian governments; it should be anathema in free societies.
For the sake of American students and parents, we are counting on you to flood Congress with calls starting Monday morning and tell them to vote “NO” on H.R. 4174, H.R. 2434, and H.R. 3157. The number for Congress is 202.224.3121. Make your voice heard!