News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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ED Asks Court To Protect Student Records

The Department of Education has asked the federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, to uphold students' rights to privacy and prohibit two state universities from publicly releasing student disciplinary records.

The department said, in a suit filed late last month, it wants the court to enforce the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which prohibits institutions from releasing students' education records with personally identifiable information.

Education Department spokesman Jim Bradshaw said that all student records, other than campus-crime records, are protected under FERPA.

Publications including campus newspapers and the Chronicle of Higher Education have requested disciplinary records from both Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Ohio State University.

Last July, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that "university disciplinary records are not 'education records' as defined by FERPA," a ruling that prompted the Education Department to take its own legal action.

"Safe campuses are a priority of our department," Mr. Bradshaw said. "But there are already laws in place which provide safe campuses."

White House Pushes Better Use of Technology

Now that President Clinton has won significant increases in federal spending on school technology, he wants the government to improve the way it uses technology in its job-training and education programs.

In a Jan. 30 memorandum to all executive agencies, Mr. Clinton ordered the White House staff to prepare a plan to do just that.

The report will review successful programs run by businesses, universities, and labor unions. It is due in six months.

As part of the effort, the departments of Education and Labor will promote ways to best use technology in federal training and education programs.

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