How Does WSIPC Protect Student Data Privacy?

Apr 10, 18

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Under FERPA, schools can disclose information from student education records, without parent or student consent, to authorized representatives of state and local educational authorities for audit or evaluation of federal or state supported education programs. Schools can also disclose information to organizations conducting studies or research on behalf of educational agencies or institutions, if the following requirements are met:
  • The study is conducted so only representatives of the organization who have legitimate interests in the information can identify the student or parents.
  • The information is destroyed when it is no longer needed.
  • The educational agency, institution, state, or local educational authority agrees to these terms.

In many states, education groups and associations are implementing stricter data-privacy rules that require data-sharing agreements to protect student data. So what are the requirements for Washington, and how do WSIPC and its partners comply with these requirements?

In Washington, House Bill 1741 requires state-approved educator preparation programs to collect, provide data to, and enter into data-sharing agreements with the Education Research and Data Center (ERDC). The bill requires the ERDC to hold, analyze, and make the data on educator preparation available for research and monitoring by the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB), state-approved educator preparation programs, and other researchers with appropriate data-sharing agreements. The ERDC and the state-approved educator preparation programs must enter into data-sharing agreements to facilitate the transfer of data required by the PESB.

WSIPC complies with state and federal laws and guidelines, including FERPA and HB-1741, in the handling and disclosing of personally identifiable information. We require district approval before we share your data, and we contractually require the same approval for any vendor or organization we work with.

WSIPC sits on the State Data Governance Committee which oversees current and potential student data privacy legislation. By sitting on this committee, and maintaining close relationships with the legislature, WSIPC is able to monitor and advise on the direction of data privacy requirements that impact our districts.

WSIPC is also a founding member of the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC). The SDPC is a unique collaboration of schools, districts, regional and state agencies, policy makers, trade organizations, and marketplace providers, under the umbrella of the Access 4 Learning community (A4L). Through this collaboration, WSIPC is able to research and provide real-world, adaptable, and implementable solutions to the growing data privacy concerns of our districts.

Student data privacy is a top concern for WSIPC, and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that your data is protected.