Department Soliciting Comments on FERPA Regulations

Last month, U.S. Department of Education released proposed amendments to the regulations implementing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in a Federal Register notice. The goal of the proposed changes is two-fold – to give states more flexibility in collecting data through statewide longitudinal data systems, and protecting student privacy.

Among the proposed changes to FERPA that could have an impact on the collection of CTE data:

  • New definition of “authorized representative” states that any entity or individual designated by a State or local educational authority or agency may conduct an audit, evaluation, or compliance or enforcement activity of a Federal or State supported education program. The Department believes that FERPA should be interpreted to allow states to link data across sectors, such as education and workforce.
  • New definition of “education program” includes any program that is principally engaged in the provision of education, including, but not limited to early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, job training, career and technical education, and adult education, regardless of whether the program is administered by an educational authority.
  • Removes the requirement that a State or local educational authority or other agency must establish legal authority under other Federal, State or local law to conduct an audit, evaluation, or compliance or enforcement activity. This could promote greater sharing of data across agencies for the purposes of auditing or evaluating an education program in order to meet State and Federal requirements and for program improvement.

NASDCTEc has reviewed the amendments and will submit comments in the coming weeks. You may submit comments to the Department on or before May 23, 2011.

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