Active support of an idea or cause etc.; especially the act of pleading or arguing for something!

Utah State Board of EducationThe State School Board decided to table the issue of FERPA until this month as they wanted to review information on it. Our Wasatch County School District Superintendent was at the State School Board testifying about our local FERPA policy. Wasatch local school board had changed our policy so that it had no protection in the spring, but thanks to great participation of residents and emails from many citizens, the policy was changed again and strengthened. Thanks to Renee Braddy for gathering information, teaching citizens and leading this charge.

Since that time, people who have talked directly to the US Department of Ed, verifying the fact that the new FERPA policy does not protect, but in fact loosens, the restrictions so more data can be collected without our knowledge. If you would like to learn more about it directly from the US Dept. of Ed. You can call this number and ask for Ellen Campbell in their FERPA policy division. 1-800-872-5327.

What we need to do now is to write the State School Board Members and ask them to leave our current State FERPA policy in place. We have a good State Policy. PLEASE NOTE – the new federal policy is VOLUNTARY.

You will be told that it is not, but you can verify that for yourself by calling the number above. Superintendent Larry Shumway responded in an email to Renee Braddy that it was truly voluntary. James Judd, Student Service Director, Wasatch County, stated publicly that indeed this policy does loosen the protections.

Be firm but polite. Remember that emails that are not too long don’t get read.

STATE SCHOOL BOARD -Board@schools.utah.gov This will reach every member of the school board.

In case you need some ideas, I have pasted my letter to the board below.

Dear Board Member,

I am greatly concerned that as members of the Utah State School Board you will be voting on whether or not to change the FERPA laws that should protect my children. I am worried because I do not think many of you understand how dangerous the Federal changes are, how much information is already in the works to be collected and distributed, and parents will not have the ability to opt out of data sharing.

I know that many of you have expressed concern and stated that you are aware of what these changes entail and that you feel that Utah does a good job of protecting student data. Many of you have also stated that the info that is collected is aggregate and that it is not personal. Current procedures as far as I know, would make your beliefs and statements correct with the caveat that there is a new bill that was introduced from Senator Aaron Osmond that is now in effect called the Utah Futures bill. On line 79 of this bill it states:

(d) allow the Department of Workforce Services to analyze and report on student user interests, education paths, and behaviors within the education system so as to predictively determine appropriate career and educational outcomes and results; and

{find the pdf version of the bill here: http://le.utah.gov/~2012/bills/sbillenr/sb0290.pdf}

Essentially, the Utah legislature and USOE has just proven that student data is not protected and that they will track our children not only through any state program, public preschool, elementary, junior high & high school, college or any higher ed, but now will follow them through the department of workforce services. The information collected will be used to determine appropriate education? Who gets to determine that? The government? The data collected will include grades, salaries, behavior, interests, etc. Whereas the FERPA rules that the State Office of Education follows may be okay for now, who is to say that the future board or employees of USOE will be as careful with our children’s private information?

The changes you are considering in regards to FERPA have already been deemed questionably legal, federal FERPA regulatory changes.

Why do I say “questionably legal federal changes?”

Congress made the original FERPA law many years ago to protect citizen privacy. But recently, the Department of Education overstepped its authority in making regulatory changes to FERPA. Regulations are not as binding as law. But the regulatory changes are being seen by some as federal mandates.

We are not communist China. We live in America and have entrusted you to help educate and protect our children, not take over their so-called outcomes. Students Educational Data Security & Privacy

Please protect our children’s private data by not loosening the rules or policies of FERPA.

Anissa Wardell

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