Today's press release is posted here.
See the FERPA complaint below to the US Department of Education, filed on Monday by Johanna Garcia, President of Community Education Council in District 6, challenging the DOE's right to provide her child's personal information to charter schools without her consent for the purpose of recruiting and marketing their schools.
In her complaint, Johanna questions whether charter operators are receiving students' test scores, grades, English learner and/or disability status from DOE in addition to their contact information, based on her personal experience with the selective charter recruitment of her three children. More evidence for this possibility is also implied by an email that I received from the DOE Chief Privacy Officer Joe Baranello, in response to my inquiry about the legal status of these disclosures.
Just as critical to her plans for rapid expansion is her ability to send multiple mailings to families for recruiting purposes. In 2010, it was estimated that Success Academy spent $1.6 million in the 2009-2010 school year alone on recruitment and promotion costs, including mailings and ads, amounting to $1300 for each new enrolled student. The need to do a massive amount of outreach to fill seats is intensified by the fact that only half of the students who win Success Academy admissions lotteries actually enroll in her schools, according to a new study.
Let us know if you would like to file a similar FERPA complaint against the DOE's practice of supplying your child's contact information to charter schools, by emailing us at email@example.com
In recent years, I had assumed that the DOE had determined that the "hurdles" of privacy law could be overcome through the Directory information exception in FERPA, as charter schools would not fit under any of the other FERPA exceptions for nonconsensual disclosure.