February 4, 2003
Honorable John Boehner
Committee on Education and the Workforce
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Some time ago, you wrote to the Secretary about an interpretation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as it applies to Titles I and II of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act). I want to let you know of recent developments concerning that interpretation and provide you with a copy of new guidance the Department has issued at my direction. I am sending an identical response to Congressmen Hoekstra and McKeon.
The Department of Education issued guidance on January 18, 2001, regarding the applicability of FERPA to disclosures of student information to meet the performance accountability requirements of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II of WIA) and the Perkins Act. On January 19, 2001, the Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Department of Education, issued guidance on meeting the performance information required by section 122 of WIA.
After I was informed of the nature of the guidance, I requested a comprehensive review of the facts surrounding the issuance. After a thorough review of this issue, the Department has rescinded the 2001 documents and has issued new guidance, a copy of which is enclosed.
I am most appreciative of your interest in the privacy rights of parents and students. Please be assured that the Department of Education will make every effort to ensure that these rights are protected.
I look forward to continuing to work with you and the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
William D. Hansen