Gathering Pupil Data for Military Is Criticized
By Javier C. Hernandez
A new Department of Education policy that gives
military recruiters centralized access to high
school student data is drawing fire from the
New York Civil Liberties Union, as well as some
parents and students.
In the past, military recruiters were required
to go from school to school to obtain student
names, addresses and telephone numbers,
sometimes encountering resistance from school
employees and students.
Now, under an order signed last month by
Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, recruiters
can access data from each high school simply by
going to the Department of EducationĂ˘€™s
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon,
the civil liberties group criticized the change
in policy, saying it opened the door to
aggressive concentration on certain students.
Ă˘€śThe D.O.E. is giving military recruiters a
direct line to New York CityĂ˘€™s children,Ă˘€ť said
Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the
civil liberties group.
In a letter to Ms. Lieberman on Wednesday, the
Department of Education said it had revised the
recruiting procedures to add another layer of
oversight. Under the new system, the letter
said, department officials can scrutinize the
number of students choosing to opt out and
check to make sure no school has failed to
distribute opt-out forms.
Centralizing the data also prevents military
recruiters from holding impromptu recruitment
sessions while on campuses to get student data,
the letter said, and it reduces the flow of
communication between military branches and
schools that Ă˘€śoften proved disruptive.Ă˘€ť
Ms. Lieberman called on the city to delay
implementing the new policy. She said the
Department of Education had shown a Ă˘€śstartling
disregard for open governmentĂ˘€ť by not asking
for public input on the new measure, and she
suggested that it solicit feedback for 30 days.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind law,
schools are required to provide military
recruiters the same access to students granted
to colleges and prospective employers. Parents
are allowed to block access to a childĂ˘€™s data
by signing a form.
But Ms. Lieberman said the city had not made an
adequate effort to inform parents of that
choice, even though the Department of Education
has been telling principals to send letters to
parents and students about the opt-out option.
The departmentĂ˘€™s Web site also includes the
form, in eight languages.
Javier C. Hernandez
New York Times
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES