I found something interesting on the SPS website this morning. It's an SPS communication called "Data Confidentiality: How Seattle Public Schools Protects Student Information." Interesting that it was released while the district is on Spring Break.
I think this deserves more investigation (and indeed is on my
reading/writing list as I have piled up some articles). This is
becoming almost as big an issue as opting out of assessments. I'm putting this up now to get it on your radar but there will be a part two to this thread.
It's a fairly carefully worded piece but it does seem to dodge/leave out a few things.
First, they say:
As a District, we strictly adhere to the Superintendent Procedure on
Student Records and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
requirements to protect the confidentiality of student information.
Then they say:
The Superintendent’s Procedure builds upon the FERPA law with detail
regarding how educational records can be released and disclosed within
Seattle Public Schools.
Do they explain what the Superintendent's procedure is or give a link to it? They do not. Here you go. There is also another one about surveys and student data.
Then they go into (somewhat) what they do with regard to third parties. One passage:
Sharing Agreements and Contracts involving student data are required to
include an explicit Obligation and Confidentiality Clause. These clauses
guarantee any external party and members of that party adhere to the
same district requirements.
Data Sharing Agreements and Contracts involving student data clearly
outline penalties such as loss of access, disciplinary action, dismissal
or prosecution should there be deliberate or accidental misuse of the
The communication then explains YOUR role as a parent. Basically, you can't opt out of releasing student data mandated through State and Federal regulations. However, it doesn't say anything about not opting out of data allowed through the Superintendent's procedure. It also says:
Families can opt out of District and State Assessments by submitting a
written letter to the school requesting to opt out of the assessment.