FERPAFamily Educational Right to Privacy Act aka The Buckley Amendment
What is FERPA? The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that affords parents the right to have access to their childrens education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records. When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student ("eligible student"). FPCO Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2008, from http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/faq.html.
TExES PPR Competency 013 The teacher understands and adheres to legal and ethical requirements for educators and is knowledgeable of the structure of education in Texas. Revised Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators (effective Sept. 1, 2002) Standard 3.1 The educator shall not reveal confidential information concerning students unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law.
What does FERPA cover? The confidentiality of a student’s records, including his or her current performance in a teacher’s classroom. "Education records" are defined as: "records, files, documents, and other materials, which-(i) contain information directly related to a student; and (ii) are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution.”
What are the rights of parents? Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the students education records maintained by the school. "Parent" means a parent of a student and includes a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or a guardian. Note: Before FERPA, schools would sometimes deny parents the right to see their student’s records. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2008, from http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
What about divorced or separated parents? An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent, unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes these rights.
When (and to whom) can you discloseinformation? Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a students education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions : School officials with legitimate educational interest; Other schools to which a student is transferring; Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; Accrediting organizations; To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2008, from http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
“Directory Information” can be shared "Directory information" means information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. It includes, but is not limited to, the students name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time), participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors and awards received, and The most recent educational agency or institution attended.
What about teacher classroom observationnotes? Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record are not considered educational records under FERPA and do not need to be shared. Also, any records that contain information about other students: If the education records of a student contain information on more than one student, the parent or eligible student may inspect and review or be informed of only the specific information about that student.
FERPA in the Supreme Court:Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo The Question: Can a teacher allow students to grade other students work? What do you think? Texas AFT - Grading. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2008, from http://tx.aft.org/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=99d7050f-9c63-4b47-86c0-e95e8b5c53df.
FERPA in the Supreme Court:Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo The Background • Falvo, the parent of three school children, had argued that peer grading was embarrassing to her children and violated the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) because the process of peer grading resulted in the disclosure of an "educational record" without the advance permission of a parent. The Ruling • On February 19, 2002 the United States Supreme Court overturned a lower appellate court ruling in Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo and held that the common practice of "peer grading" did not violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Supreme Court Support for Peer Grading as a Teaching Practice • The Court explained that…peer grading represents a way to teach or review material in a new context, while also teaching students how to respect and assist fellow pupils. And Finally… • In concluding the opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote, "… grades on students’ papers would not be covered under FERPA at least until the teacher has collected them and recorded them in his or her grade book. We limit our holding to this narrow point, and do not decide the broader question whether the grades on individual student assignments, once they are turned in to teachers, are protected by (FERPA)."
What do you think? True or False: It is acceptable to email students’ grades to parents since this form of communication does not fall under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
Application Assessment One night while grocery shopping, Ms. Hanley meets Mrs. Ramirez, the parent of Juan, one of her students. After a cordial conversation about the family and how Juan is doing in school, Mrs. Ramirez inquires about an incident on the playground involving her son and a classmate, Joey. She is unhappy about the “unfair” treatment that Juan received while Joey “got off without any punishment.” She is concerned about this unequal treatment and wants to know why Joey received an “easier punishment.” What would you say if you were Ms. Hanley? Think …. Write it on your paper… Talk to your partner…. (Pair)Test Answer Choices: A. “That’s not true. Joey received the same punishment as Juan.” B. “I make it a point to treat students fairly. That does not always mean that I treat them the same way. While Juan was on his third warning, Joey was only on his first. Therefore, the punishments were appropriate even though they were different.” C. “I can see that you are upset about this. But it is inappropriate for me to discuss decisions concerning another student with you.” D. “What Joey does and how I discipline him is none of your business.”