OneNewsNow.com – 09/22/2011 -Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren of Illinois has introduced a bill that would give greater protection to the education records of home schoolers.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) currently protects the privacy of student records for those who attend schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. It gives certain rights that transfer to “eligible students” when they reach the age of 18 or attend school beyond the high school level. However, since home schoolers are not covered by that measure, Representative Hultgren sees room for correction.
“Many states require that parents file records regarding their home-schooled children with public education officials, but these records are not protected under FERPA,” the congressman explains. “So, really, that is the intent of this legislation — to address a discrepancy.”
The lack of a federal definition of “home schooling” prevents the Department of Education from exerting its control on home schoolers at the federal level. But Will Estrada of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) says steps were taken during the writing of Hultgren’s bill to ensure that that shield is protected.
“We’ve worked very closely with Congressman Hultgren to make this a narrow bill that will just serve to protect the privacy of home schoolers, without doing any unintended damage,” Estrada reports. “We’re very grateful for the work that he’s done,” he adds.
And the HSLDA spokesman notes that this is the first of a series of bills concerning privacy issues to be introduced this year.