The federal government is laying the foundation for a national database that could include all of the personal details of every student in every public school in every state, warns a report by the leading homeschool advocacy group.
The report, compiled by Will Estrada and Katie Tipton of the Home School Legal Defense Association, points out that a “slew of new federal incentives and federally funded data models have spurred states to monitor students’ early years, performance in college, and success in the workforce by following ‘individuals systematically and efficiently across state lines.’”
The authors “believe that this expansion of state databases is laying the foundation for a national database filled with personal student data.”
The report notes that the U.S. Department of Education is banned by law from creating a national data system, but under the Obama administration, new regulations have opened the door.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, parents were promised they could access their children’s personally identifiable information collected by schools. But the schools were banned from sharing the details with third parties.
The law explains that personally identifiable information includes names of family members, address, Social Security number, date and place of birth, disciplinary record and biometric record.
The new report says, however, the Department of Education has reshaped FERPA through regulations so that “any government or private entity that the department says is evaluating an education program has access to students’ personally identifiable information.”