House Hearing on Education Research and Student Privacy

The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the effectiveness of the current laws governing education research and student privacy protection.

Witnesses on the panel highlighted the importance of education research to build better schools, as well as the need to make student privacy a top priority. The discussion included a conversation on updating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

"Schools collect a tremendous amount of data in this day and age, and we strongly believe that each additional data element that gets collected on our students must be balanced by privacy concerns," said Nathaniel Schwartz, chief research and strategy officer, Tennessee Department of Education.

"At a minimum, parents should be able to know who has their children's data and for what purpose, how it is secured, when it will be destroyed, and how to access and correct inaccurate information," Rachael Stickland, co-founder of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, said in prepared testimony. "Optimally, parents should be notified in advance of any disclosure of student data to anyone outside of the school or district and given the opportunity to opt out, and delete any information not necessary to their child's transcript. Perhaps most importantly, robust security protections for the collection, storage and use of personal student data must be required."


Related Links

U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Press Release