FERPA – Understanding the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act

I will begin with a confession to our readers. I was never fully aware of the FERPA guidelines until long after the peak of my teaching time in the initial education setting. Granted in retrospect I obeyed them in the academic and private secondary environment, but I did not know the Why’s. I was just doing. I guess I survived despite my ignorance, thanks to good mentoring.

FERPA 101: A Quick Recap
Beginning in 1974, through an act of congress and a signature of President Ford, FERPA established three rights for students that continued to be enhanced through 2001.

  • Students have permission to inspect their educational records upon request within 45 days.
  • Students are permitted to request changes to their records when they believe there is an error.
  • With a few exceptions, student records shall remain private and only be disclosed to those who have “legitimate educational interest”

All of which require annual notifications of a school’s practices of compliance to their students.

Seems pretty straight forward, right? The focus of Platinum Educational Group revolves around supporting your program efforts specifically with item number 3. How does Platinum assure that only those who have proper permission to view students do so? Our solutions include:

  • EMS Testing and Platinum Planner require secure login from all user types.
  • Teacher management and privileges are restricted by school administrators only.
  • Faculty and preceptors may only view records of student they are authorized to see.
  • Internet messaging and other emails generated by our system does not expose non- directory type information to recipients.
  • Student schedules, grades, and evaluations remain private. They are only revealed to active faculty directly related to the student and offers feedback during appropriate periods of time rather than indefinitely.

Do you have other questions about how we assist our schools in relation to FERPA? Let me know! I can be reached anytime by emailing me at tom@platinumed.com or calling 616.818.7877 ext. 2121. The documents I referenced for this short article are deep and wide, but worthy of more discussion if you like.

Tom Gottschalk, COO