Vitter’s Student Data Privacy Bill Gains Grassroots Support

David_Vitter-112th_congress-U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the “Student Privacy Protection Act,”  a bill that addresses problems with FERPA and would amend the General Education Provisions Act to strengthen student privacy.  Numerous grassroots activists representing 32 different organizations released a joint statement.

“Parents are right to feel betrayed when schools collect and release information about their kids. This is real, sensitive information – and it doesn’t belong to some bureaucrat in Washington D.C.,” Vitter said. “We need to make sure that parents and students have complete control over their own information.”

The bill summary Vitter’s office released lists four actions this bill would implement if passed.

Rolling Back Department of Education Regulations:

  • The Student Privacy Protection Act would reinstate FERPA’s original protections by clarifying who can access student data and what information is accessible. It also requires explicit authority for authorized representatives to conduct audits and evaluations of education programs.
  • ED regulations in these three areas expanded the amount of information available without prior consent of a parent or student, as well as when and to whom that information could be released

Ensuring Parental Consent in All Cases

  • The bill implements new, more robust guidelines, in order to protect student privacy, for schools and educational agencies to release education records to third parties, even in cases of recordkeeping.
  • These entities will be required to gain prior consent from students or parents and implement measures to ensure records remain private. Further, educational agencies, schools, and third parties will be held liable for violations of the law through monetary fines.

Extending Privacy Protections to Home School Students

  • FERPA does not currently apply to students who do not attend a traditional education institution, such as students who are homeschooled, despite some states requiring homeschoolers to file information with their school district.
  • This bill extends FERPA’s protections to ensure records of homeschooled students are treated equally.

Limits Appending Data and Collection of Additional Information

  • The bill prohibits educational agencies, schools, and the Secretary of Education from including personally identifiable information obtained from Federal or State agencies through data matches in student data.
  • Federal education funds will be prohibited from being used to collect any psychological or behavioral information through any survey or assessment.

Below is the joint statement and the groups represented.

We; the undersigned groups that have grave concerns about the loss of student and family data privacy, psychological profiling, and career tracking related to the Common Core standards, aligned state tests and longitudinal data systems; are grateful to Senator David Vitter for introducing and do strongly support The Student Privacy Protection Act.

This legislation provides important protections in the following areas:

  • Rolling back the disastrous extra-congressional regulatory changes that vastly expanded access of third parties to our children’s personally identifiable data, now limiting that access and requiring parental consent in all cases
  • Holding educational agencies, schools, and third parties liable for violations of the law through monetary fines, damages, and court costs
  • Prohibiting psychological or attitudinal profiling of students or gathering of sensitive family information via any assessments, including academic assessments or surveys
  • Extending data protections for homes chooled students required to submit educational data to public school districts
  • Prohibiting educational agencies, schools, and the Secretary of Education from including personally identifiable information obtained from Federal or State agencies through data matches in student data.
  • Banning Federal education funds to states or districts that film, record, or monitor students or teachers in the classroom or remotely without parent or adult student and teacher consent.

We strongly urge the senators of our respective states to co-sponsor this critically important piece of legislation and our congressional representatives to author and co-sponsor this bill in the US House.

Organizations supporting:

  • American Principles in Action
  • Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee
  • Eagle Forum
  • Education Liberty Watch
  • Home School Legal Defense Association
  • Women on the Wall
  • Special Ed Advocates to Stop Common Core
  • Stop Early Childhood Common Core
  • Arkansans for Education Freedom
  • Arkansas Against Common Core
  • The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition
  • Florida Parents RISE
  • The Tea Party Network
  • Georgians to Stop Common Core
  • Opt Out Georgia
  • Idahoans for Local Education
  • Hoosiers Against Common Core
  • Iowa RestorEd
  • Iowa for Student Achievement
  • Kansans Against Common Core
  • Louisiana  Against Common Core
  • Common Core Forum
  • Stop Common Core Massachusetts
  • Stop Common Core in Michigan, Inc.
  • Minnesotans Against Common Core
  • Missouri Coalition Against Common Core
  • Nevada Parents and Teachers STOP Common Core
  • South Dakotans Against Common Core
  • Tennessee Against Common Core
  • Truth in Texas Education  
  • Truth in Catholic Education  
  • Utahns Against Common Core
  • WV Against Common Core
  • Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

3 thoughts on “Vitter’s Student Data Privacy Bill Gains Grassroots Support

  1. We must all unite around this bill. We need to get a House Rep to sponsor this bill and we need to get co-sponsors. Then pound the phones and email to get this bill passed. We need it to be a stand alone bill not an amendment to ESEA reauthorization and that it does not get so watered down it becomes meaningless. This bill is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT pieces of legislation in DC right now and if we cannot beat Common Core and the federal take over of education we certainly can fight for legislation to work around it and circumvent their efforts. Personally I would like to see a bill to defund the US Dept. of Education…now that would be the answer to all of our education problems.

      1. Sorry Christel… I meant to add that yesterday and it slipped my mind.

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