Washington, D.C.–American Principles in Action is calling on Congress to oppose S.227, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA), which would violate the privacy of millions of students and parents.
SETRA is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday, February 25th in the U.S. House—even though the Senate has not yet voted on the bill. Congressional leadership intends to call a vote on the matter in both the House and the Senate this week, despite neither body holding a hearing on the bill.
“SETRA is dangerous legislation that would expand federal psychological profiling of children through expanding research on ‘social and emotional learning,’” said Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow at American Principles in Action. “It would facilitate sharing of education statistics across states and agencies. It would continue to rely on the now-gutted FERPA statute to protect student data. SETRA must be defeated to protect student privacy rights.”
Emmett McGroarty, Director of Education at American Principles in Action, said, “Leadership is betraying the Constitution and the American people by rushing this bill through. Having so blithely disrespected the American people, it is difficult to see how they will ever regain their trust.”
American Principles in Action’s concerns with SETRA are three-fold:
1.) SETRA reauthorizes ESRA, the Education Sciences Reform Act, first passed in 2002, which facilitates intrusive data collection on students. ESRA began the idea of state longitudinal databases, which created the structure that would facilitate a de facto national student database. ESRA also eliminated previous penalties for sharing and otherwise misusing student data.
2.) SETRA allows for psychological profiling of our children, raising serious privacy concerns. Section 132, page 28 of SETRA: “…and which may include research on social and emotional learning, and the acquisition of competencies and skills, including the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, evaluate evidence, and communicate effectively…”
This means the federal government will continue to promote collection of students’ psychological information. APIA does not support allowing the federal government to maintain psychological dossiers on our children.
3.) SETRA depends on FERPA to protect student privacy, legislation that is now outdated and has been gutted by regulation. FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, passed in 1974, and is no longer sufficient to protect student privacy in the age of technology. Even worse, the Obama Administration gutted FERPA so that it no longer offers the protections it once did.
American Principles In Action is a 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to preserving and propagating the fundamental principles on which our country was founded. It aims to return our nation to an understanding that governance via these timeless principles will strengthen us as a country.
For further information or to schedule an interview with Jane Robbins or Emmett McGroarty, please contact Kate Bryan at American Principles in Action at 202-503-2010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.