Reporters who cover Congress and federal executive branch agencies aren’t getting the help they need from public affairs officers. Indeed, they are reporting overwhelming frustration trying to interview federal employees or get basic information for the public because of interference from PAOs.
It’s the bane of every education reporter’s life, and a nuisance to anyone trying to pry information from a school board, college or university: the 1974 Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA is a federal privacy law that many school officials have taken to mean that any piece of paper or film with a student’s name on it is off limits to the public.
From elementary schools to universities, some administrators are gleefully jumping on the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA, as an excuse to keep secret just about anything anyone wants to know about their schools. Don’t put up with it.
A recent U.S. Department of Education ruling on how colleges and universities must treat rape victims may end up making a huge difference in how the media covers the problem of on-campus sexual assault. While most schools still avoid disclosing the way they discipline students who assault other students, under the July DOE ruling, they can no longer force sexual assault victims to sign confidentiality agreements before telling them the outcome of disciplinary cases against attackers.