October 12, 2012
LOWER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Schools Create Their Own FOIA Interpretation.
If the principal at your child’s school was rated “ineffective” by the district, would you have the right to know? According to one school district and a state department, the answer is “no.”
Danny Shaw, a reporter for Heritage Newspapers, made a simple FOIA request for the one principal rated “ineffective” by Willow Run Community Schools. The state denied the request because the information was “of a personal nature” and disclosing it would constitute an “unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy.”
Shaw appealed the request but John Nixon, director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, under which the Center for Educational Performance and Information falls, agreed saying that releasing the evaluations would “compromise the integrity” of the “open communication” between school officials.
Public entities prefer secrecy. That’s why school districts try to circumvent transparency laws and public unions consistently try to block releasing information to the public. It is why Michigan State University blacked out whole pages of innocuous information when responding to a request —including an email that was a copy and paste of a story written by the news source that sent the FOIA.