Individual privacy rights have increasingly been the subject of great concern with respect to the compiling and availability of data sets. Public education data representing sensitive details of the formative lives of our nation’s young is amongst the most sensitive of this type of collected data. State and federal education policy makers are sufficiently aware of this to require the public release of such data to be strictly unidentifiable, so much so that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was enacted in 1974 to ensure the privacy and protection of our young and the sensitive data collected from them. While FERPA strictly forbids the release of any data outcome for which the sample size is less than 10 or the percentage of the sample population represented is 100%, state and local education policy makers and legislatures are often yet more restricting. Increasingly, these policy makers have enacted statutes further restricting the use of and access to such data, sometimes limiting its access to the public entities collecting the data, regardless of how unidentifiable the release of data outcomes may be.
State Longitudinal Data Systems uniformly adhere to the strictest and most literal interpretation of federal and state privacy statutes in an effort to ensure the privacy of our nation’s young and their households. The data discussed in this repository is only available to those entities meeting the conditions outlined by the state statutes allowing its collection and in no case are less stringent than FERPA standards.