Friday, March 29, 2013
Valerie Strauss: On the Question of Student Privacy
The disclosure of student records to the inBloom data services is allowed by two different provisions in FERPA. The first provision allows schools to disclose student records to
school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records, including private
contractors hired by a school district, when the student records are needed to provide the contracted services. This applies to inBloom, which is contracted by school districts to
provide technology services for school administrators and teachers.
USED spelled out rules authorizing disclosure of student records to school district
contractors in 2008 (see section 99.31(a)(1)(B)); however, this type of disclosure was
consistently allowed long before it was codified in 2008 (for example, see this 2004
USED advisory opinion).