Sheila Kaplan is a longtime independent education researcher, publisher, consultant, program developer, and advocate for students' rights. Sheila founded Education New York Online in 2005 as a one-stop website for state and national education news, research on information policy and children's privacy rights, and issues in education. In 1997 Sheila founded Education New York, at the time the only independent education publication in New York.
Sheila has brought state and national attention to the issue of children's privacy rights under federal education law and has identified gaps in the system that leave students vulnerable to breaches of their personal privacy. She has consulted with federal officials on making the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) more responsive to the 21st century challenges of protecting students' education records in the electronic information age. Sheila's comments submitted in May 2011 to the U.S. Department of Education on the proposed amendments to FERPA focused on the failure of the proposed rules to adhere to the highest standards of practice in protecting students' privacy and confidentiality.
Sheila led efforts to introduce a student privacy bill (S.2357) in the New York State Legislature that would impose greater restrictions on access to student information than what is afforded under federal law. Although the bill passed 62-0 in the NY Senate in 2011 and was advanced by the Senate Education Committee in 2012, measure was not taken up by the Assembly.
Given the growing state-level interest in protecting student privacy, Sheila has developed a model STUDENT PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT. She also continues to reach out to parents to inform them of their rights under FERPA and what they can do to protect their children. In September 2011 she launched Education New York's National Opt-out Campaign to alert parents to their rights under FERPA to restrict third-party access to their children's information and encourage them to review their school's annual FERPA notification at the beginning of the school year.
To kick off the 2013 OPT-OUT Campaign Sheila produced the video, "It's 3 PM: Who's Watching Your Children?".
Sheila founded Information Policy Watch in 2008 to warehouse her in-depth research of FERPA and additional emerging information & privacy policies.
She authored the policy paper on student mobility "Moving Forward: Helping New York's high mobility students to succeed" in 2005 to highlight the problem of persistent low-achievement among students who make multiple moves between schools.
While raising her three children in Tucson, AZ in the mid-1980s Sheila founded and developed Kids in Downtown Spaces (KIDS), a children's museum without walls.
Sheila grew up in Newburgh, N.Y., where she served on the School Board for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District from 1995 to 1998. During her tenure on the board, Sheila spearheaded the creation of a new innovative high school at Stewart International Airport offering a career-focused curriculum. New York State United Teachers President Thomas Hobart praised the "un-chartered school" for providing a thoughtful model for reform and showing that education innovation can flourish in the public school system. Sheila also led a successful campaign to stop an expansion of Newburgh High School that would have made it the largest high school in upstate New York. How One Community Rejected the Monolithic High School
Sheila is a graduate of George Washington University. She holds a master's in social work from Fordham University and a master's in Information Policy and Records Management from the University at Albany.
You can contact Sheila via email.