January 19, 2018 | Amelia Vance
New US Dept of Ed Finding: Schools Cannot Require Parents or Students to Waive Their FERPA Rights Through Ed Tech Company’s Terms of Service
Policymakers, parents, and privacy advocates have long asked whether FERPA is up to the task of protecting student privacy in the 21st century. A just-released letter regarding the Agora Cyber Charter School might signal that a FERPA compliance crack-down – frequently mentioned as their next step after providing extensive guidance by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) employees at conferences throughout 2017 – has begun. The Agora letter provides crucial guidance to schools and ed tech companies about how USED interprets FERPA’s requirements regarding parental consent and ed tech products’ terms of service, and it may predict USED’s enforcement priorities going forward.