Monday, April 15, 2019
NYC parents tell the Mayor to stop stalling and stop giving charter schools access to student information
Video and press release below about our press conference this afternoon. Sorry for the low quality- it was broadcast on twitter live.
For immediate release: April 15, 2019
For more information contact: NeQuan McLean, 347-470-4975, firstname.lastname@example.org
NYC parents tell the Mayor to stop stalling and stop giving charter schools access to student information to market their schools
This afternoon, in front of the NYC Department of Education headquarters, NYC public school parents told Mayor de Blasio to stop bowing to the charter school lobby and halt the practice of giving charters access to student personal information to market their schools. Instead, they said, he should listen to parents’ concerns, stop violating their children’s privacy, and cease this practice, which by helping charters expand, causes the loss of funding and space from our public schools.
In recent weeks, Chancellor Carranza has repeatedly promised parent leaders, both publicly and privately, that this practice would be discontinued, but the Mayor has yet to make a commitment to do so, and in the last few days he has said that he has not yet made a decision.
Said Johanna Garcia, public school parent and President of Community Education Council in District 6 in Upper Manhattan: “It is unconscionable that this practice continues. For more than a decade, parents and advocates have complained to DOE about the privacy violations incurred by allowing charters to access our children’s personal information without our consent. I filed a FERPA complaint to the US Department of Education about this practice in November 2017. Moreover, I am not aware of another school district in the country that voluntarily makes this information available to charter schools and undermines our public schools in the process."
NeQuan McLean, co- chair of the Education Council Consortium and the President of Community Education Council in District 16 Brooklyn said: “My mailbox is continually flooded with deceptive promotional materials from charter schools. As a result of expensive marketing campaigns and the damaging co-location policies of the DOE, my district has been overrun by charters. The Mayor repeatedly says he listens to parents; we are saying loudly and clearly that he should end this practice now.”
“Not only is personal student information unnecessary for appropriate marketing, providing access to it is an unacceptable violation of student privacy,” said Mark Cannizzaro, president of the Counselor of School Supervisors and Administrators.
Shino Tanikawa, the co-chair of the ECC and a member of NYC Kids PAC, agreed: “For years, DOE has ignored parents’ complaints about this practice, which started in 2006 when Joel Klein agreed to help Success Academy charter schools expand their “market share” as Eva Moskowitz put it in an email. The result is that this year, more than two billion dollars has been diverted from our public schools. Why should our supposedly progressive Mayor continue this practice, when he promised parents he would defend our public schools in the face of charter encroachment? “
Leonie Haimson, co-chair of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, pointed out: “In Chicago, after student information was disclosed to charter schools by the district, resulting in parents receiving postcards urging them to enroll their children in their schools, this sparked a huge controversy and led to an investigation by the city’s Inspector General. As a result, the staffer who released the information was fired and the district apologized to parents . Right now, in Nashville, their school district is defying a state law requiring districts to make parent contact information available to charter schools, and last week appealed a court order to do so. NY State has no such law, and in fact, our state law bars the use of student data for marketing purposes.”
Naomi Peña, parent of four public school children and President of Community Education Council in District 1 in the Lower East Side, said: “For years, I along with other public school parents have been subjected to glossy flyers from charter schools, which have received donations from hedge fund billionaires to help them advertise in this way. Charters also spend thousands of dollars on social media buys, TV and radio ads, and plaster their posters all over our subway. Meanwhile, our public schools don’t have the funding to promote themselves in this way – and if they did, do we really want our public schools spending money on ads that should go to improving learning conditions for our kids?