The Associated Press Managing Editors association, echoing a stand taken earlier by the Society of Professioanl Journalists, is asking Congress to amend the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) to curb abuse.
FERPA was intended to protect students from unwarranted invasion of privacy through the release of a very limited number of academic records, primarily their grades, to the public. Educational institutions from local schools to universities have expanded the purview of FERPA beyond reason to make other types of records secret, including athletic budgets, parking tickets and school lunch menus.
The U.S. Department of Education currently interprets the law beyond its intent, thus allowing school officials to hide entire records, even with names redacted, if they suspect a journalist might identify someone named in the records.
See a letter containing the resolution that was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.