Former senator James Buckley–brother of WFB!–has replied to my recent article on Hillsdale College’s Parents Weekend, in a letter to the Wall Street Journal:
As the author of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Ferpa), I found John J. Miller’s “Pay Tuition, but Don’t Ask How the Young Scholar Is Doing” (Cross Country, Oct. 18) on its current application both illuminating and distressing—illuminating in his description of how the legislation has compromised the exercise of parental responsibilities, and distressing in what it tells us of the ways in which administrative interpretations can skewer a central purpose of an act of Congress.
One of Ferpa’s major objectives was to ensure that parents had access to school records relating to their children. In recognition of the fact that on reaching age 18 offspring acquire the rights of adults, the act specifically provides (as Mr. Miller points out) that parents have the right to view the grades of college students who remain their dependents for tax purposes. To suggest that parents may receive their 18-year-old children’s grades but cannot discuss their work with their teachers is absurd. Parents’ responsibilities and legitimate concerns do not come to a halt on a child’s 18th birthday.
James L. Buckley
Separately, here’s an excellent interview with Buckley on how to shrink the federal government.