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Rokita, Fudge Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Update Student Privacy Protections

Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Ranking Member Marcia Fudge (D-OH) today introduced the Student Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 3157), bipartisan legislation to update student privacy protections under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA. The bill will modernize privacy protections, improve communication between parents and school officials, and hold schools, states, and independent entities accountable for their use of student information.

“Mobile applications, cloud computing, and other innovative tools play an increasingly important role in a student’s education,” said Chairman Rokita. “Unfortunately, legal safeguards over student privacy have not kept pace with the rapid technological changes taking place in America’s classrooms. The bipartisan reforms in this bill will strengthen privacy protections to ensure schools can provide a 21st century education, while keeping their students’ personal information safe and secure. I want to thank my colleague, Congresswoman Fudge, for working with me to advance these important and necessary reforms.”

“Technology plays an essential role in educating our nation’s children, enhancing learning, and empowering educators with better information to meet the individual needs of their students,” said Congresswoman Marcia Fudge. “While the use of technology in education continues to advance, laws governing the management of student records – often electronic – have not. The Student Privacy Protection Act clarifies the definition of student records and how they are kept, increases parental access and consent, strengthens accountability and transparency, and protects student records from dangerous data breaches and theft. It is time our laws reflect today’s technological reality. We must take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and data of all students and families.”

“Protecting student privacy is a responsibility we all share and one we have neglected for far too long,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “This important proposal will help ensure student privacy protections reflect the innovative teaching taking place in today’s schools. I commend Representatives Rokita and Fudge for introducing bipartisan reforms that strengthen safeguards over student information and support a 21st century learning environment.”

“Protecting student privacy is a priority that transcends party lines,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA). “The Student Privacy Protection Act modernizes student protections for a digital age, strengthens parental involvement in education, and seeks to hold bad actors accountable for misuse and breach of data. The legislation upholds these principles, all without stifling vital education research or hampering innovation needed to prepare 21st century students for college and career. I thank Subcommittee Ranking Member Fudge and Subcommittee Chairman Rokita for their leadership in drafting a much needed update to ensure federal law reflects the reality of today’s classroom, and am pleased to join Chairman Kline as a lead cosponsor of this timely legislation.”

Student Privacy Protection Act:
  • Updates the definition of an education record to ensure student information connected to classroom technology is protected.
  • Prohibits schools or independent entities, such as technology companies, from using a student’s education record to market products or services to that student.
  • Reaffirms a parent’s right to access their child’s education record and opt out of sharing their student’s directory information such as name, address, and date of birth.
  • Strengthens security requirements for storing and gaining access to student education records.
  • Provides parents with greater transparency about what student information schools determine can be used, collected, and shared for educational purposes.
  • Reinforces privacy protections by providing schools better guidance, support, and oversight.
  • Ensures compliance with the law and communication between parents and school leaders by requiring schools to designate a privacy official to oversee the use of student information.
To learn more about the Student Privacy Protection Act, click here.

To read the bill, click here.

 

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